Say Her Name: NFL Honors Janisha Fonville, Killed in 2015 by a Cop Dispatched to Help Her
The NFL on Friday revived interest in the case of Janisha Fonville, a Black woman who was fatally shot by a North Carolina police officer nearly six years ago.
Fonville is one of nearly 90 people honored through an NFL program that recognizes victims of systemic racism and police violence. The league on Friday tweeted a picture of Fonville with the caption “Say Her Name: Janisha Fonville” and the hashtag #SayTheirStories.
When the initiative was announced in September, the NFL released a list of names, including George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and many others, who would be featured on helmets and badges by NFL players and coaches. Each team decides who it will honor and how to display the names or initials during the season.
The NFL’s tweet on Friday included a photo of Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley II wearing a helmet that bears her name.
Fonville, 20, was shot by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer who responded to a call at a Charlotte apartment on Feb. 18, 2015, The Charlotte Observer reported. The paper said Fonville’s then-partner, Korneisha Banks, told officers outside the apartment that night that Fonville needed mental health treatment, had a knife and might hurt herself.
Police reported Fonville held a knife in the seconds before the shooting and lunged at two officers. Banks disputes this and says Fonville’s hands were empty. Then-Police Chief Rodney Monroe said officers had ordered Fonville several times to drop the six- to eight-inch knife.
No charges were filed against Anthony Holzhauer, the officer who shot Fonville. Holzhauer’s attorney, Michael Greene, previously said the officer felt “remorseful” but was justified in the shooting.
A prosecutor announced in April 2015 that it was not unlawful for Holzhauer “to use deadly force in the face of what he reasonably perceived to be an attack from a knife-wielding subject.”
Learn more about her story, including her girlfriend’s detailed account of the moments leading up to Fonville’s shooting, in the video below from the Charlotte Observer: