Did You Know About Hannah Fizer?

The killing happened last June. The decision not to prosecute the deputy who shot her was made mid-September. Given how much outrage toward wrongful police shootings and killings is pulsing across the nation, one would have expected this killing to have made national news, sparked nationwide protests, something. There was nothing. Outside of the Kansas City area, no one knew. No one cared about the killing of Hannah Fizer.

Fizer stopped her car about 10 p.m. that day between two restaurants near the 3500 block of West Broadway Boulevard. Family and friends say she was driving to her job at an Eagle Stop convenience store when she was pulled over.

The deputy, who has not been identified publicly, said Fizer refused to identify herself when she was stopped. She told the deputy she was armed with a gun and was going to shoot him, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

In search warrants, an investigator described restaurant video as showing the deputy make contact with Fizer before drawing his gun. Fizer, who had been pulled over for speeding and careless driving, is seen moving inside her silver 2015 Hyundai Elantra. Then, the deputy fires his weapon.

There was no gun in the car, and she owned no gun. Fizer, who had never threatened anyone with violence before, had her cellphone in hand to shoot the encounter. The unnamed deputy wore no body cam, so there’s nothing more than his story, which makes no sense unless Fizer was trying to get herself killed.

Special Prosecutor Stephen Sokoloff didn’t praise the deputy’s shooting, but concluded that it fell within the Reasonably Scared Cop Rule.

“There are aspects of the case that lead me to believe that an alternative approach might have avoided the confrontation that led to the officer having to discharge his weapon,” Sokoloff wrote, “but that is not relevant to a determination of whether criminal liability would attach.”

That the deputy could have avoided killing Fizer isn’t the measure of whether his conduct was criminal. Then again, the determination that it wasn’t criminal depends on acceptance of a narrative that’s so fundamentally lacking in credibility as to be laughable, had it not come from a cop’s mouth. Nobody tells a cop they’re going to shoot them, especially when they’re unarmed. They don’t do it over a red light ticket. They don’t do it when they’re not otherwise so violent that they have a deep history of threatening harm, particularly of harming cops. It’s a ridiculous story, which at best passes the laugh test only for lack of a body cam. Even so, the narrative is absurd.

So where are the nationwide protests? There was an AP story about the deputy not being charged in WaPo, not that anyone noticed. A short article made the NYT in August, not that anyone noticed. No doubt it appeared elsewhere too. Not that anyone noticed.

But marches? Vigils? Calls to defund police? Calls for the deputy’s prosecution? Anything? How is it even possible, given what’s happening in this nation with regard to riots stemming from a cop shooting a guy with a gun in his hand?

Only the Free Thought Project continues to take a look at the killing of Hannah Fizer.

Another ominous detail to the killing of Fizer was the fact that she was filming the stop and her phone was found on the floorboard of her Hyundai, according to a search warrant, but no video has ever been released.

Fizer’s father believes Fizer was simply holding her cell phone and dropped it, which caused the coward cop to dump five rounds into his daughter. As the cellphone was the only thing found in the car, this is the most likely scenario.

The last time Fizer’s phone was mentioned in the investigation though was on June 22 when the Kansas City Star reported that it had been sent to the state’s digital forensic center in Jefferson City for analysis and data extraction.

This isn’t only the “most likely scenario” as a general notion, but consistent with a 25-year-old woman going to work after a fun day with friends.

She spent the last day of her life splashing around in a kiddie pool with her best friend, Taylor Browder, and Ms. Browder’s young children, talking about life and her future in Sedalia, an old railroad town of 21,000 people that is home to the Missouri State Fair.

This didn’t have the marking of a young woman seeking suicide by cop, and the deputy’s narrative was entirely incredible otherwise, even if Sokoloff found it good enough to believe.

So why no riots?

One of the foremost failings of the current strain of social justice is that in order to demonstrate fealty to Black Lives Matter, it requires its adherent to ignore that every life wrongfully taken by a cop matters. Yet the obsession with race precludes the ability to grasp that this isn’t just a black person problem, but a problem for all of us with police using excessive force. That there is a disparate impact on black and Hispanic people is certainly true, but that’s not where the problem begins or ends.

When cops needlessly and wrongfully kill, the skin color of their victim doesn’t make one death more wrongful or worthy of outrage than another. Hannah Fizer’s life matters too.

21 thoughts on “Did You Know About Hannah Fizer?

  1. Pedantic Grammar Police

    It almost makes you wonder if police killings are the real reason for the protests and riots.

    1. norahc

      ” The unnamed deputy wore no body cam, so there’s nothing more than his story, which makes no sense unless Fizer was trying to get herself killed.”

      So the only video that’s been released is a restaurant surviellance video? Even if he had no body cam, where is the dach camera footage? Pretty sure dash cams have been used since the days of VHS tapes.

      1. Grant

        During stops, dash footage is generally only useful for audio, with the possible exception of DWI/DUI tests for savvy cops.

        (At least in NJ, for safety reasons, the cop car is angled into the street during traffic stops to act as a buffer if a passing car is passing too close.)

  2. Guitardave

    Bon Appetit by Guitardave

    They call me Mr. Mockingbird
    Gatekeeper for the written word
    Your mind is controlled, emotions directed
    For you only respond to whats not rejected.

    Though you still have a soul
    And your feelings are true
    You can only digest
    the shit we feed you.

    So gobble it up,
    your daily news meal
    and piss bitch and moan
    ’bout the ‘outrage’ you feel.

    But no worry, no guilt
    For the things you can’t know
    Just get back in the trough
    And consume the next show.

    (PS: Cognitive Dissonance trigger warning! Please don’t make the simple minded mistake of thinking I’m making light of this horrible tragedy with such a silly song.
    It’s for the presstitutes… with humor i stab at thee.)

    1. SHG Post author

      Probably, and it would be wrong. There are two problems, racism and police use of excessive force. The pervasive conflation of these two problems means that we ignore that needless police killings is a distinct problem from racism, even though they often overlap.

  3. MelK

    The Washington Post? The New York Times? Ah, right. You’re one of those OLD folks.

    So… Other than two newspapers nobody (except old folks on the east coast) reads, did Fizer make national news? International news? Social media? Were there tons of witnesses, some recording the encounter?

    How many other people die every day, in ways mundane or outrageous, that the general public doesn’t hear about? Does the color of their skin or manner of their death matter, if their death is not witnessed, publicized, learned of by the duly and unduly passionate?

  4. John Barleycorn

    Damn, no suggestions about what type of font to use, if one were to start a new Halloween tradition of sending out Special Grand Jury post cards to Special Prosecutors across the Republic, cc-ed to DOJ just for spooky fun times…

    What kind of bLAWg is this???

  5. Bob

    I agree with the point you’re trying to make, but you’re really showing your age here, SHG. Haven’t you been watching the countless videos of young white women rioting in the streets, hurling insults and threats and objects at cops? How many 25-year-old women do you know, anyway? What about 25-year-old women who participate in BLM protests, with shoulder tattoos and facebook profile pictures of them with their black boyfriend flipping off the camera? The boyfriend also posted a vague threat to shoot cops publicly on facebook after she was killed.*

    I’m still young enough to have friends of friends that age, and let me tell you, there’s a damned plague of under achieving 20-something bohemians turned anti-racist activists. And they’re doing everything they can to provoke cops so they can post (selectively edited) videos online and claim some of that victimhood they desperately crave. I don’t think the cop’s story is unbelievable or even unlikely.

    * Of course I didn’t read any of this in a news story; I just googled her name. It about 10 minutes, which I guess is too much work for reporters—not that they would have reported it anyway.

    1. snark

      I’m a 27-year-old woman, and I think you need new friends.

      Also, I think you’ve kind of missed the point of the article, which is that real, actual police shootings don’t generate much public or media interest if the victim is white. If the public doesn’t have any tears to cry over police mistreatment of a white person, even when they end up dead, what makes you think it matters how they were posing in their Facebook profile picture? You talk like having an anti-police attitude is a capital offense, as if it’s normal to offer what you said as a counterpoint to what’s going on here. And even if people you know are intentionally tweaking the noses of their local police to generate footage for the groundbreaking social justice documentary they’re recording on their iphone, how is that even remotely relevant to this girl being fatally shot by a police officer for speeding?

      The public is suffering from race-based selective outrage over a real social problem that affects people of all races. White victims end up just as dead as non-white victims, but not everyone gets a city burned to the ground in their name. Instead, the termination of a human life gets quickly buried under the 24-hour news cycle if they’re white, because it doesn’t fit the narrative or sell very many t-shirts. No one interviews the family on the news or even looks at the GoFundMe page they set up to help with the sudden expenses incurred by the disaster, which is clearly just a white supremacist effort to appropriate being murdered by police anyway, to share in a tragedy that is not theirs.

      This is your country too, you know. This is where your life is, and what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Find yourself at the center of an unfolding fatal encounter with police and it probably won’t even occur to you how many people will hold the police blameless for your death, and if you’re white the only people who will likely take note of it at all will be people like Scott, the author of this blog whom you have accused of “showing his age” as if to imply that he’s out of touch with something you’re privy to. On the contrary, I think you’re the one who doesn’t get it.

  6. B. McLeod

    There were some local protests in Sedalia.
    A lot of this was just the prosecutor having to go with the officer’s story because there were no other witnesses.

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  8. Joseph Masters

    Of course some of us have heard of Hannah Fizer–anyone that reads PINAC or The Free Thought Project (the site whose article you linked to) has heard of Fizer, along with hundreds if not thousands of other “questionable” police killings. There is a veritable deluge of stories of people whose lives were snuffed out under borderline or clearly criminal circumstances–does Fizer’s case really stand out on a site like Photography Is Not A Crime?

    But the issue isn’t the media–you mentioned Washington Post and NY Times articles about Fizer. The issue is simpler–Minneapolis and Louisville 2020 were not possible without the George Floyd video. Even Breonna Taylor’s case wasn’t recognized for what it really was until after 25 May 2020–it couldn’t have been a coincidence. If Missouri had not been able to hide the name of Fizer’s killer to this very day, along with any possible video and/or audio evidence for why the deputy shot a 25-year old woman five times during her own traffic stop, her name might be as prominent as Floyd’s.

    Then again, maybe not–police clearly see anyone protesting as a major threat, unlike 17-year olds openly carrying AR-15s after killing two people. Nor was video enough prior to 2020–see Staten Island, 17 July 2014. The only person brought up on charges was the videographer.

    Protesting is dangerous, but not as dangerous as what black people encounter on a daily basis in America. Not so much for the majority in America. So, until a 25-year old white woman is recorded being murdered on camera by a police officer, and it happens frequently enough (the video capture) to wear down police excuses over a 5-10 year period, demands for justice for the thousands of other dead victims of the Jason Van Dykes, Derek Chauvins and Shaun Lucases of the world will probably be muted.

    1. Rengit

      Yes, the old “if we have one video of an event happening, that means that there are tens, hundreds, nay, thousands more cases of it happening that we don’t have video for” trope. We have statistics for police killings, but impassioned assertions based on speculative assumptions and specious extrapolations are the way to go.

  9. steve king

    I read this with the deepest sorrow for Hannah and her family.

    May she leave port in the sunrise boat.
    May she return to port in the sunset boat.
    May she sail among the heavenly stars.
    May she ride the boat of a million years.

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