The widely publicized monthslong fight to force Kentucky authorities to charge the cops who killed Breonna Taylor in Louisville has inspired others to stand up against cop brutality and killings in cities, towns and rural areas across the country. One example is the case of Hannah Fizer.
Fizer, a 25-year-old woman, was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy during an evening traffic stop June 13 in Sedalia, Missouri. She was on her way to work for her night shift at the Eagle Stop gas station.
Every Saturday morning members of her working-class family and their supporters have been demonstrating in this city of 21,000, an old railroad town and site of the Missouri State Fair. “Say her name: Hannah!” “Prosecute the police!” they demand. Some had joined protests in the area against the cops’ killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the end of May.
The deputy who shot Fizer has not been charged and authorities refuse to release his name. According to Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond, the unnamed officer stopped Fizer’s car for speeding and said she had a gun and threatened to kill him. But no gun was found.
“I want to know his name,” Amy Fizer, Hannah’s mother, yelled at Bond during a protest on the steps of the county courthouse several days after her daughter was killed. The cops, citing “technical problems,” said no body-camera recording of the shooting was taken.
“Without any videotapes or anything like that, it’s the police’s word against nobody,” protester Reggie Gay told the Sedalia Democrat. “We’ve seen that situation happen before and we know how that ends up.”
Hannah’s cousin, Jessica Fizer, who has helped lead some of the weekly protests, told the paper that she wants to see the deputy who killed her cousin charged with murder in the same way a civilian would be.
What happened to Hannah Fizer illustrates the disdain the capitalist rulers and their police agencies have for working people. “If you’re on the outer fringes of society you’d know,” Amy Fizer told the New York Times Aug. 6. “They pull you over. They do what they want, when they want.”
Both Hannah Fizer and the sheriff’s deputy who shot her are Caucasian. “Black and Hispanic people are killed at higher rates than white people in rural areas,” noted the Times, “but the demographics of rural America mean that about 60 to 70 percent of people killed by law enforcement there are white.”
Killing of Breonna Taylor
Outrage and protests continue to demand charges against the three cops who killed Breonna Taylor. She was gunned down in a March 13 late night “no-knock” cop break-in at her apartment. For over five months authorities have refused to charge the three cops who carried out the killing. The case is in the hands of state Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who says he has no “timetable” for when he’ll decide whether to file charges.
“At this point,” this case “is bigger than Breonna,” Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, told the media Aug. 13. She had just come out of a meeting with Cameron and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. Cameron said he is waiting to receive FBI ballistic test results.
“We lost two months while we were letting them try to figure out how to justify the unjustifiable,” said Ben Crump, one of the attorneys representing Taylor’s family. “And so now we’re waiting for a ballistics test over 150 days later? That should have been something that was seized upon the minute they saw this innocent Black woman lying dead in her apartment.”