ATLANTA - The family of a man shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer plans to sue the city for $20 million.
Jimmy Atchison’s estate notified Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, City Council President Felicia Moore, Police chief Erika Shields and the city attorney of its intent in a notice dated June 21.
The ante litem notice requests the city’s insurance information. If the case is not settled, the family, on behalf of Atchison’s two small children, plan to file a federal wrongful death suit.
“We believe it’s a small price for the City of Atlanta to pay for what they took from these kids,” said Tanya Miller, the family’s attorney.
Atchison was 21 years old in January when he was shot and killed by Atlanta police Officer Sung Kim.
The shooting happened in the Allen Hills apartment complex in Northwest Atlanta.
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Atchison was hiding in a friend’s closet, and witnesses said he was unarmed. Kim was working with the FBI fugitive task force to serve a warrant. It was tied to an alleged armed robbery of a cellphone.
Channel 2 Action News later learned Kim was not wearing a body camera, as instructed by federal agents.
“Officer Kim violated my son’s civil rights,” said Atchison’s father, Jimmy Hill. “My son was unarmed. He surrendered and he was shot in the face. Someone has to pay.”
“He (God) gave me one son and seven daughters,” cried Cynthia Atchison, Jimmy’s mother. “He did that for me and Sung Kim took that away from me.”
The body camera issue became the centerpiece of prosecutors’ frustrations, with Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard acknowledging the difficulty in navigating his investigation without the key piece of evidence.
The ordeal sparked Shields to pull APD out of federal task forces, making national headlines as the first metropolitan force to do so. Shields expressed concern that DOJ funding made the body camera programs possible for local departments, but not required.
“This isn’t a movement,” she told Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant in early June. “This is about being able to go to every community in Atlanta and say, ’Hey, we are an open book.’”
Miller said past excessive force complaints against Kim in his decadeslong APD career will also play centerpiece in the lawsuit.
Personnel records indicate several complaints were closed in “not sustained” status, meaning the department found there wasn’t enough evidence to make a determination in any of the cases.
The FBI, GBI and local prosecutors are all conducting separate investigations into the January shooting.
“That is what we believe to be the unjustified, illegal, unconstitutional murder of Jimmy Atchison by Sung Kim,” Miller said. “The only thing that I think would potentially derail a full and fair investigation is the city’s lack of participation and cooperation with Fulton County and/or the federal government’s obstruction and lack of participation with the Fulton County district attorney.”
Neither the city nor APD would comment Tuesday, citing pending litigation. Kim remains on paid administrative leave pending the investigations.
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