Nov 22, 2023 - News

Body camera footage released in Atlanta man's tasing death

A photo of Johnny Hollman Sr.

Johnny Hollman Sr. Photo: Davis Bozeman Johnson Law

The Atlanta Police Department has released body camera footage of an August traffic stop that led to the tasing death of 62-year-old deacon Johnny Hollman Sr.

Why it matters: The footage was released Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. It comes nearly two months after the police department initially refused because it was part of a "pending homicide investigation."

  • The incident also prompted Atlanta to change its traffic citation policy, allowing officers to write "refusal to sign" instead of arresting motorists who don't sign tickets.

What happened: Johnny Hollman Sr. died after he was tased by former officer Kiran Kimbrough.

  • An autopsy performed by the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office determined he died from cardiac dysrhythmia, or an abnormal heart rhythm, caused by the use of the taser.
  • Kimbrough was fired last month for failing to follow the department's policy of having a supervisor on the scene before he tried to arrest the deacon.

What they're saying: Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said Wednesday in a written statement the footage "will be difficult to watch for many people," including Hollman's family.

  • "I continue to extend my deepest sympathy to them and hold them close in my thoughts and prayers. We also extend our gratitude to those in the community who have embraced and supported the family during these difficult months."

Catch up quick: The family says Hollman, who was chairman of the deacon ministry at Lively Stones of God Ministries, was driving home from Bible study when he was involved in a traffic collision on the night of Aug. 10.

What happened: Kimbrough responded to the crash at Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard and Cunningham Place. According to the video, Kimbrough determines Hollman to be at fault in the crash, which the deacon initially challenges.

  • Hollman then agrees to sign the ticket and as he reaches for it, Kimbrough grabs his arm and wrestles him to the ground.
  • During the scuffle, Kimbrough tells Hollman to put his hands behind his back, but the deacon repeatedly says, "I can't breathe."
  • The former officer stuns Hollman with the taser and continues to tell him to put his hands behind his back.
  • Hollman becomes unresponsive and is "bleeding pretty bad," Kimbrough can be heard telling dispatchers on his radio.
  • After a few more officers arrive at the scene, Kimbrough tells them he tried to get Hollman to sign the ticket, but the deacon "started to grab my hand like he was going to hit me, so I punched him a couple of times" before tasing him.

EMS crews arrived to try and revive Hollman. He was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The other side: Hollman family attorney Harold Spence said in a statement that the video "confirms the undeniable truth that Kimbrough needlessly and brutally escalated a routine police-citizen encounter over a traffic ticket into a fatal encounter."

What we're watching: The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which was asked by Atlanta police to investigate the incident, has completed its probe, agency spokesperson Nelly Miles told Axios.

  • The case file was turned over to the Fulton County District Attorney's Office, which will determine the next steps.
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