The family of Johnny Hollman Sr., a 62-year-old deacon who died after being tased by an Atlanta police officer during a traffic ticket dispute, is suing the city.
According to the Atlanta Black Star, a lawsuit was filed last week over the “needless and wrongful” death of Hollman. The suit names the city, as well as Kiran Kimbrough, the former police officer accused of using excessive force and tasing Hollman to death, as well as his chief.
The suit stems from a minor car accident on August 10 involving Hollman, who was on his way home from Bible study at his church, Lively Stones of God Ministries. Kimbrough found Hollman at fault for the accident and asked him to sign a ticket.
In body camera footage, Hollman denied that he was at fault for the accident and asked to speak to a supervisor.
“Who are you screaming at?” Kimbrough said in the footage. “I told you once, lower your voice. You’re not going to scream at me. Do you understand what I’m telling you? Now you’re going to sign this ticket, or I’m going to take you to jail.”
Kimbrough told Hollman he could speak with a supervisor after he signed the ticket. The two went back and forth before Hollman agreed to sign the document. At one point during the encounter, Kimbrough used a “leg sweep maneuver” to take the 62-year-old to the ground.
“Ignoring Deacon Hollman’s concession to his request that he sign the ticket, Defendant Kimbrough performed a leg sweep maneuver on Deacon Hollman, taking Deacon Hollman to the ground,” the lawsuit states. “While doing so, Defendant Kimbrough commented to Deacon Hollman: ‘You acting crazy!’ Once on the ground, Deacon Hollman told Defendant Kimbrough, ‘I’m an old man.”
The officer ordered Hollman to put his hands behind his back before striking and tasing the deacon. Hollman repeatedly said “I can’t breathe” during the encounter, according to the lawsuit.
Hollman was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. The manner of his death was ruled a homicide.
Kimbrough was fired from the Atlanta Police Department in October, but the family is calling for him to be criminally charged.
“Police misconduct that is not punished or sanctioned is likely to be repeated. We are alleging in this lawsuit that time after time we see the City of Atlanta ignore police violence against innocent citizens, often finding minor administrative violations rather than excessive force as a basis for slap on the wrist discipline,” attorney Harold Spence said in a statement. “This ratification of police violence needs to stop and stop now!”
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