The family of a local deacon tased to death by a now-former Atlanta police officer is planning to sue the city and the disgraced ex-cop in a lawsuit demanding accountability for yet another instance of law enforcement killing of an unarmed Black driver.
Johnny Hollman Sr.’s family on Thursday afternoon is expected to be joined by their attorneys and community supporters to address the lawsuit that stems from the fatal encounter last summer in which the deacon allegedly told the officer “I can’t breathe” multiple times.
The civil rights lawsuit is expected to name the City of Atlanta and former Atlanta Police Officer Kiran Kimbrough as defendants.
According to the family, on Aug. 10, 2023, Hollman, 62, had just finished bible study when he left his daughter’s home and was on the way home to take his wife to dinner.
Shortly afterward, Hollman was involved in a minor car accident and called 911. After waiting for more than an hour, Kimbrough arrived on the scene, decided that Hollman was at fault and issued him a traffic ticket. Hollman, upset at the ticket, asked to speak to Kimbrough’s sergeant but his request was ignored and he was instead threatened with jailing if he didn’t sign the ticket. Hollman’s family says he told Kimbrough he would sign the ticket, but the officer still grabbed him, took him to the ground and began tasing him.
After allegedly telling Kimbrough “I can’t breathe” as many as 16 times, Hollman became unresponsive and was later pronounced dead at Grady Hospital.
Kimbrough defended his actions and tried to criminalize Hollman in death.
“I took him to the ground and stuff,” Kimbrough said after the incident. “He grabbed my hand like he was going to hit me, so I punched him a couple times, Tased him, and put him in cuffs.”
More than two months later, the city fired Kimbrough, but not for Hollman’s death – he was instead officially terminated for failing to follow the department’s procedure by waiting for a supervisor to arrive on the scene prior to arresting Hollman.
Kimbrough, who is Black, claimed he used the taser after Hollman “became agitated and uncooperative.” Kimbrough, who had been on administrative leave before his firing, has never faced criminal charges for his role in Hollman’s death.
In November, the Fulton County District Attorney’s office released body camera footage that shows what led up to the fatal encounter.
WARNING: DISTURBING VIDEO
A minor traffic accident ended with 62-year-old grandfather and church deacon Johnny Hollman dying in Atlanta police custody.
— Rob DiRienzo (@RobDiRienzo) November 22, 2023
Hollman’s family fought for months to get the body cam video released before the DA’s office, the GBI and the city of Atlanta finally agreed, which they said they did in the interest of transparency.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens did release a statement saying an investigation led to policy changes regarding how the Atlanta Police Department handles traffic citations. Dickens also said APD will develop new policy guidelines regarding the public release of video evidence connected to police use of force incidents.
“As Mayor, I know it is critically important for the City of Atlanta to continually assess, evaluate and adjust how our public safety departments carry out their sworn mission to serve and protect our citizens,” Dickens wrote. “When there is a tragic circumstance, we afford due process for the officers involved while also letting the evidence drive the decision. In this case, the evidence was clear regarding a violation of the department’s SOPs.”
The post RIP Johnny Hollman: Family Suing Atlanta, Ex-Cop In Taser Death Of Black Deacon After Minor Car Accident appeared first on NewsOne.