Bodycam footage shows elderly Atlanta deacon being fatally tased by police

‘I ain’t doing nothing,’ Johnny Hollman yelled in the footage. ‘Why are you hurting me like this, man?’

Kelly Rissman
Friday 24 November 2023 20:05 GMT

Footage leading up to death of Atlanta deacon revealed

Bodycam video footage of the interaction between an Atlanta deacon and a police officer has been released, clarifying what exactly happened in the moments leading up to the officer fatally tasing the man.

The incident took place on 10 August, when the 62-year-old deacon, Johnny Hollman, was getting arrested by Officer Kiran Kimbrough after a minor car crash.

The bodycam footage, which spans almost an hour, captures Officer Kimbrough talking to Hollman and the other driver at the scene of the collision.

Hollman repeatedly insisted that the other driver hit him. The exchange escalated after the officer told the deacon that he didn’t turn his car properly, again blaming him for the crash.

At one point, the officer, who has since been fired, can be heard repeatedly telling Hollman: “Sign the ticket.” Although Hollman clearly doesn’t want to sign it, he eventually concedes as the officer approaches him, saying he’ll sign the ticket. That’s when the physical altercation begins.

The officer tried grabbing Hollman’s arm, but Hollman swatted his arm away, while complaining, “My right arm really hurts, man.” Seconds later, Hollman is on the ground, with the officer’s hands pressed up against his back.

“I ain’t doing nothing,” Hollman yelled. “Why are you hurting me like this, man?”

This image from bodycam video provided by the Atlanta Police Department shows Johnny Hollman Sr. speaking with Officer Kiran Kimbrough on Aug. 10, 2023 in Atlanta

“Sign the ticket!” the officer yelled back, before saying, “I’m gonna tase you, put your arms behind your back now.”

Hollman then flips around so that his back is on the ground while Officer Kimbrough keeps telling him to put his arms behind his back. “I can’t breathe,” Hollman screams repeatedly — at least 12 times, the footage shows.

The officer then tases the grandfather.

After the video’s release, Arnitra Hollman, the deacon’s daughter, said: “We’re asking for the officer to be jailed and prosecuted to the fullest extent because what he did to our father was senseless.”

“It makes me angry. I’m bitter... because I want my daddy back. We want our father back,” she continued.

Hollman family lawyer Mawuli Davis also said at the press conference: “What he was doing was he was making his case, like so many of us do when someone is going to issue us a ticket.” He later added, “Instead of listening and being patient and using his training of de-escalation, instead this officer treated him as if he were not an elder.”

An autopsy report ruled that Hollman’s death was a homicide, with his history of heart disease, as well as the electrical shock from the taser, contributing to his death.

“Our position is that it was an unwarranted, unjustifiable assault that led to a death,” Hollman family lawyer Mawuli Davis said last month. “And in my book, that is murder.”

An August release from the Atlanta Police Department said: “The officer attempted to issue a traffic citation to the at-fault driver. However, the driver became agitated and uncooperative.”

“The officer attempted to take the driver into custody, but he resisted, and a struggle ensued,” the release continued.

“Mr. Hollman violently and unlawfully resisted Officer Kimbrough’s lawful efforts to arrest him,” Mr Kimbrough’s attorney Lance LoRusso told the AP. “The Atlanta Police investigation confirmed Officer Kimbrough deployed his city-issued TASER and used force in a manner consistent with his training and Georgia law.”

The release of the footage comes after a suspense-filled delay, as Atlanta police previously said the video wouldn’t be released until after the investigation was completed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Since the bureau completed its probe into the deacon’s death, it handed over the investigation to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. The DA’s office said on Wednesday the probe is ongoing but didn’t make clear when a charging decision would be made.

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