By Rich Schapiro
James Bonard Fowler won’t be anywhere near Sunday’s march in Selma.
The former Alabama state trooper who killed black activist Jimmie Lee Jackson in 1965 — galvanizing the civil rights movement — is deathly ill and “wants nothing to do with all that stuff going on down there,” his daughter told the Daily News.
But Fowler’s daughter — who lives on a plot of land next to his in this tiny town near the Florida border — said she’s bracing for a potential confrontation.
“He’s not even able to move, and he’s got dementia,” said the daughter, who was frothing with anger and didn’t give her name.
“He’s not able now if a bunch of ’em come down in here trying to get back at him or whatever, for something that happened all those years ago. If a bunch of ’em come on my yard, I’m gonna throw down. I’m gonna defend my damn self.”
Fowler’s slaying of Jackson triggered the march in Selma that became known as “Bloody Sunday.”
Jackson was one of 500 people participating in a nighttime march in nearby Marion on Feb. 18 to protest the jailing of a civil rights worker. After troopers began assaulting the marchers, Jackson, a Baptist deacon, rushed into a diner called Mack’s Cafe. A group of troopers followed them inside. Witnesses said Jackson’s grandfather and mother were clubbed to the floor.
Seconds later, Fowler opened fire on Jackson. Before he died at an area hospital, the unarmed man told a nurse he was rushing to protect his mother.