NFL revives interest in 2015 killing of Charlotte woman by a police officer

Joe Marusak
·2 min read

Through a tweet Friday, the National Football League revived interest in the 2015 killing of a Charlotte woman by a police officer who’d been called to help her.

Janisha Fonville and others across the United States were recognized by NFL players and coaches through the league’s helmet decal program this season.

The program honors “victims of systemic racism, victims of police brutality, and social justice heroes,” the NFL said in announcing the program in September.

Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley II wore a decal with Fonville’s name on the back of his helmet.

In Friday’s tweet, the NFL included a photo of Fonville beside a picture of Gurley and the back of his helmet with Fonville’s name decal.

“Say her name: Janisha Fonville,” reads the tweet, which includes the hashtag SayTheirStories.

No charges against officer

The 20-year-old Fonville had been diagnosed with a mood disorder and depression, The Charlotte Observer reported in 2015. She was once hospitalized for intentionally cutting herself.

On Feb. 18, 2015, CMPD officers responded to a domestic call around 9 p.m. at a northeast Charlotte apartment, the Observer had reported. Two cops approached her right after they were told by her girlfriend, outside the apartment, that Fonville was mentally ill and might hurt herself, the Observer reported.

Seconds before the shooting, a friend saw Fonville get up from a couch with her hands empty, the Observer reported, while officers said she held a knife.

Officer Anthony Holzhauer, who fatally shot Fonville, was “remorseful,” but his actions were justified, his lawyer Michael Greene told the Observer at the time.

Then-Police Chief Rodney Monroe said officers ordered Fonville several times to drop her six- to eight-inch knife.

Virginia Byrd, a neighbor who said she was Fonville’s godmother, questioned why the officer used his gun to subdue the 5-foot-2, 112-pound woman.

“The shoot-first-ask-questions-later doesn’t fly,” Byrd told the Observer at the time. “There were other ways. They tried nothing else.”

In April 2015, the district attorney announced that no charges would be filed against Holzhauer, saying 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,” the Observer reported at the time.