May 6, 2024 - News

City approves settlement with family of deacon in tasing death

Johnny Hollman Sr.

Johnny Hollman Sr. died after he was tased by a police officer who responded to a traffic collision on Aug. 10, 2023. Photo: Davis Bozeman Johnson Law

The city of Atlanta settled a lawsuit with the family of a man who died last year after he was tased by a former officer.

Why it matters: Johnny Hollman Sr.'s death following a traffic stop sparked protests, resulted in the firing of officer Kiran Kimbrough and led to the Atlanta Police Department changing its policy on how it issues citations.

The latest: The City Council on Monday unanimously approved the $3.8 million settlement with Hollman's family, who filed a civil rights lawsuit in January against the city, the ex-cop and the police chief.

What they're saying: Hollman's daughter Arnitra said the family is thankful for the people who "have supported us in our fight for justice for our father" and is grateful that the elected officials "have brought closure to this part of our fight for justice." 

  • "We will continue to demand arrests of those responsible for our father's death," she added.
  • "My thoughts remain with the Hollman family, and while nothing can undo what has been done, my priority was to get this family as close to full closure from this unfortunate tragedy as soon as possible," Mayor Andre Dickens said Monday in a statement.

Catch up quick: Hollman, who was chairman of the deacon ministry at Lively Stones of God Ministries, was driving home from a Bible study when he was involved in a traffic collision on the night of Aug. 10, 2023.

  • Kimbrough responded to the crash and according to body camera footage released in November by APD, he determined Hollman, 62, was at fault.
  • After disagreeing with the officer's decision, Hollman agreed to sign the ticket and as he reached for it, Kimbrough grabbed his arm and wrestled him to the ground.

During the scuffle, Kimbrough told Hollman to put his hands behind his back, but Hollman repeatedly said, "I can't breathe."

  • The former officer tased Hollman, who became unresponsive, then called for backup.
  • EMS crews tried to revive him at the scene, but Hollman was pronounced dead at the hospital.
  • An autopsy determined Hollman died from an abnormal heart rhythm caused by the use of the taser.

Kimbrough was fired in October for failing to follow the department's policy of having a supervisor on the scene before he tried to arrest Hollman.

Between the lines: Following the incident, the APD changed its ticketing policy to allow officers to write "refusal to sign" instead of arresting drivers who don't sign a citation.

  • The city also created a new civilian response unit that will respond to calls such as minor traffic collisions, accidents and thefts from vehicles.
  • Dickens said training for the first group of members should wrap up next month.
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