As the case is handed to the Pettis County Prosecuting Attorney’s office, Justice for Hannah supporters have not wavered in their work for justice for Hannah Fizer.
Forty-seven days after Hannah Fizer’s death, Justice for Hannah supporters are still hard at work protesting and advocating for answers in the 25-year-old’s death. Fizer was shot and killed by a Pettis County deputy after allegedly claiming to have a gun and threatening to shoot the deputy during a traffic stop June 13 in Sedalia. No gun was found by investigators during their search of the vehicle.
The investigation into the incident was taken over by the Missouri State Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control who has completed their investigation, according to MSHP Troop A Public Information Officer Sgt. William Lowe. Lowe told the Democrat the case was sent to the Jefferson City office to be “booked into binders and proofed” and the report was delivered to Pettis County Prosecuting Attorney Phillip Sawyer Thursday afternoon.
“It (the case) gets what they call ‘booked,’” Lowe told the Democrat. “They put all of the case notes in kind of chronological order and it’s just a big notebook for the prosecuting attorney to be able to review…”
Lowe said the department’s investigation into the incident is complete unless they are asked to do more.
“If he (prosecuting attorney) wanted us to follow up on something we would,” Lowe explained. “Or if there’s something else he wants to do we could do that but right now it’s complete.”
Lowe said it is now up to Sawyer to make his decision on the case. Lowe also said he did not know how long it would take Sawyer to make a decision and it was “entirely up to him.”
For several members of the community, the case is taking too long and many are frustrated by what they say is a lack of answers and transparency from the Pettis County Sheriff’s Office on the matter. Protests have continued outside of the Pettis County Courthouse across the street from the sheriff’s office for weeks.
Janet Uplinger has been present at the protests throughout and said while the recent protests have been small they still “have a lot of support.”
“Really we want people to know that we’re out here and we haven’t forgotten what happened to Hannah,” Uplinger said. “She was only 25-years-old. She was her (Hannah’s mother Amy Fizer) only daughter. For her life to be taken away like that was such a tragedy…
“There’s no dash cams, no body cams to prove what happened there although there is video. So it’s like I told Mr. (Sheriff Kevin) Bond, ‘Why wouldn’t you want cameras for your law enforcement for their protection as well as everyone else’s?’” she continued.
Protestors have been calling for accountability for what happened and transparency from the sheriff’s office. Uplinger said protestors will keep protesting until they get answers.
“Nothing is going to bring her (Amy Fizer) daughter back but if this saves somebody else’s daughter or son for that matter, then we’re out here doing the right thing...” Uplinger said.
“I want justice for the mom and dad,” she added. “This is their only daughter. I can’t imagine having to lay my baby girl to rest at 25-years-old. He (the deputy) needs to be held accountable for what he did and the truth needs to come out. It’s all ‘he said,’ she can’t say anything.”
Groups have also been made online to continue advocacy. Shirts and keychains donning “Justice for Hannah” have been made and distributed, funds have been raised for the family and online petitions have been created. One online petition on Change.org calling for justice had reached 25,407 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.
Don Hockaday, originally from Sedalia but now living in Colorado, started the “Sign the petition justice for Hannah” Facebook group.
“We’re trying to get more people involved,” Hockaday said. “We have almost 3,400 people on the Facebook page. We’re trying to see if we can get more people to participate (in the protests). We’ve even been talking about going to Jefferson City and getting protests done there and maybe having new eyes on everything.”
Elad Gross, a Democratic candidate for Missouri Attorney General, stopped by a protest July 20 and later posted about it on Facebook in support of the family. On Thursday, Gross announced he will be joining the next Justice for Hannah protest at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Pettis County Courthouse.
Hockaday and others involved in the movement all said they would like to see more people participating, especially in the protests.
“We’re just like, ‘keep pushing on,’ you know,” Hockaday told the Democrat. “It is kind of disheartening I guess that more people aren’t taking action and participating but the ones that are there are doing all they can to make their voices heard and to get justice.”
Uplinger asked for mothers and fathers to consider, “What if it was their child?”
“Nobody knows how these parents feel, I see it,” she said. “I see the hurt and the anger and the frustration of not getting any answers.”