MADISON, Ala. – Demonstrators gathered in Madison Sunday to participate in a peaceful protest in honor of Dana Fletcher, a man who was shot and killed during an encounter with Madison police outside Planet Fitness on Highway 72 in October 2019.
Police were called to investigate a call about a man and woman recording and asking people in the gym questions. Madison County Sheriff’s Office investigators said Fletcher had a gun and pointed it at officers before he was shot.
Fletcher’s family retained national civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump after the deadly shooting. Crump is currently the lead attorney for George Floyd’s family.
In November 2019, Madison County District Attorney Robert Broussard said a review of evidence in the case, including surveillance video from businesses and police body cameras, indicated that police actions were justified.
During the press conference, reporters were shown still images from the body camera footage, but not the video in its entirety. Fletcher’s family has asked to privately view the footage, but authorities have declined to release it.
Demonstrators met at 3 p.m. Sunday and stood on all four corners of the intersection of Highway 72 and Wall Triana Highway. More than 100 people participated. Many held signs calling for the release of police body camera footage and related video in the fatal shooting. Fletcher’s family was also in attendance.
Some protesters said for weeks the focus has been the death of George Floyd. While his loss is significant, they said people shouldn’t forget the losses the Madison County community has faced in the last few years. Fletcher’s family said this is bigger than him.
“My mom is out here fighting for your son ma’am,” said Radiah Fletcher, Dana’s sister. “The justice in Dana’s case is not for us! It’s for you. Dana is dead! We can’t bring him back.”
One young protestor said she’s attended every major rally in the area over the past couple of weeks. Sunday’s protest in honor of Fletcher was no different.
Shauntia Ward said the demonstrations show her that change is on the horizon.
“I do have hope because I’ve never seen white people stand in front of me, to protect me from rubber bullets, and gas and all of that stuff,” she explained.
Ward said being a teen on the front lines is sometimes difficult.
But she’s proud that young black people are facing these adult issues, head on.
“I know that our parents tell us that there’s a time and a place for everything,” the teen added. “Right now they’d probably tell us to stay in a child’s place. But there’s only so long we can stay in a child’s place for so long before things go too far.”
Ward said the victims could’ve easily been her own relatives.
“And if anything happened to them in the hands of the police, I’d be out here everyday, screaming for justice, until I got it,” she said.