Killing of Knox Fail in Alabama in 1943


Case summary

Knox Fail (1905 - 1943), a saw mill worker, was killed by police officers in Birmingham, Alabama. Involved were J. E. McDonald, J. A. Hale, and H. P. Williams and Private Peter Paul Szntiar, Jr. Police claimed that officer McDonald was attempting to arrest Fail on a complaint by a white woman that Fail had entered a white women’s restroom. Fail allegedly opened fire, hitting McDonald. The officer handed his gun to Private Szntiar, a bystander, who then shot Fail. Shortly after, officers Hale and Williams arrived at the scene and also fired shots at the victim. Fail died in a hospital shortly after arrival. A coroner returned a finding of justifiable homicide.


Alleged perpetrators/other named individuals:
Perpetrator group type: police

Date of incident: 1943-12-28
Location: Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama
Location type: public space - urban
Allegation against victim: entering the white women's restroom in a public building

Coroner process
Coroner/inquest: [ ]
Finding of no legal responsibility: [ ]

Criminal process
Arrest: [ ]
Charge/indictment/information: [ ]
Grand jury: [ ]
Trial: [ ]
Conviction: [ ]
Sentence: [ ]

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