CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Black woman who was fatally shot by a North Carolina police officer nearly six years ago is one of nearly 90 people honored through an NFL program that recognizes victims of systemic racism and police violence.
The football league on Friday tweeted a picture of Janisha Fonville with the caption “Say Her Name: Janisha Fonville” and the hashtag #SayTheirStories.
When they announced the initiative 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.
Fonville, who died in 2015, was honored by Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley II. In their post on Friday, the NFL included a photo of Gurley wearing the 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, local outlets reported. 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.”