45 years after the crime, James Bonard Fowler pled guilty to the second-degree manslaughter of Jimmie Lee Jackson and was sentenced to 6 months in jail. Perry County commissioner, Albert Turner Jr, called the agreement “a slap in the face of the people of this county.”
Fowler was released early after serving 5 months.
Jimmie Lee Jackson was a civil rights protestor who was beaten, shot and killed by Alabama State Trooper James Bonard Fowler on February 26, 1965 during a non-violent protest. Jackson was unarmed. His death inspired the Selma to Montgomery marches, an important event in the American Civil Rights movement.
DELAYED JUSTICE: A grand jury declined to indict Fowler in September 1965, identifying him only by his surname: Fowler.
Interviewed some time after the incident, Fowler stated:
“I don’t remember how many times I pulled the trigger, but I think I just pulled it once, but I might have pulled it three times. I don’t remember. I didn’t know his name at the time, but his name was Jimmie Lee Jackson. He weren’t dead. He didn’t die that night. But I heard about a month later that he died.”
After the shooting, Fowler returned to his duties as a State Trooper. He was transferred to Birmingham, Alabama, and promoted. He states that he never got so much as a letter of reprimand.
Read more about this story at: Daily Black History Facts