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World News

Family of Atlanta church deacon sues police after he died struggling with a police officer

by Premier Journalist

The family of Johnny Hollman, a church deacon who died in an altercation with an Atlanta police officer following a minor car crash, has filed a lawsuit against the city, the officer, and the police chief.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, alleges that Officer Kiran Kimbrough used excessive force in violation of Hollman's constitutional rights.

Body camera footage from the August 10 incident shows Kimbrough deploying a stun gun on Hollman, who repeatedly expressed difficulty breathing. An autopsy classified Hollman's death as a homicide, citing heart disease as a contributing factor.

The family's attorney, Mawuli Davis, stated during a news conference that Police Chief Darin Schierbaum, Mayor Andrew Dickens, and other city officials share responsibility for Hollman's death, arguing they fostered a culture where such conduct would go unpunished.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified punitive damages and other compensation. Kimbrough's attorney, Lance LoRusso, did not immediately respond to requests for comment, previously asserting that Hollman resisted arrest and Kimbrough acted lawfully.

The mayor's office and the police declined to comment due to pending litigation. However, a spokesperson for Mayor Dickens mentioned a review of police procedures and training prompted by Hollman's death, resulting in a new policy allowing officers to note "refusal to sign" on traffic citations instead of making arrests.

Hollman, driving home from Bible study, collided with another vehicle. In the body camera footage, Kimbrough insists on Hollman signing a citation, leading to a struggle, stun gun deployment, and Hollman's subsequent death.

Kimbrough was fired for violating department policy, and the family has also sued a tow truck driver involved, urging prosecutors to consider murder charges.

The district attorney’s office is reviewing the case for potential criminal charges. Hollman's daughter, Arnitra Hollman, emotionally recounted her father's pleas for help during the encounter.

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