Atlanta

Family of church deacon killed while in APD custody demands the release of body camera footage

ATLANTA — Dozens took to the streets this weekend to demand that the Atlanta Police Department release the full body camera video showing moments the last moments of a 62-year-old man’s life before he was tased.

Johnny Hollman was taken into custody after a minor traffic accident on August 10 at the intersection of Cunningham Place and Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard. Atlanta police said he became “agitated and uncooperative” and used a stun gun on him.

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Hollman was handcuffed, and police later realized he was unresponsive. He was taken to the hospital, where he died.

In early September, APD shared the body camera video with Hollman’s children, wife and their attorneys at City Hall.

Attorney Mawuli Davis said Hollman is seen in the video asking the sergeant to respond to discuss.

“The officer tells him you’re going to sign the ticket, or you’re going to jail,” said Davis. “He [Hollman] attempts to reach out to sign the ticket, the officer grabbed him by the arm and begins to take him into custody and take him to the ground, and you can hear Mr. Hollman begging for him to stop.”

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Davis said as the officer was Tasing Hollman, “He’s saying, ‘I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. Help me.’”

“If it’s not you, then who,” Hollman’s daughter Arnitra Hollman said. “It could be any one of us or any one of our loved ones. We never thought we would be here doing this for our father in a million years.”

APD has not said if they plan to release the video.

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After conducting an internal evaluation of the interaction, the department released this statement:

At the direction of Mayor Dickens, APD conducted a top-to-bottom evaluation of the interaction with Mr. Hollman, including a review of the department’s Standard Operating Procedures and training curriculum. As a result of that review, there have been updates to the standard operating procedures of APD regarding traffic citations to allow officers to write “refusal to sign” in the signature line rather than make an arrest.”

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