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Atlanta to pay $3.8 million to family of church deacon who died in struggle with officer

The Atlanta City Council has agreed to pay $3.8 million to settle a lawsuit by the family of a church deacon who died in a struggle with a city police officer following a minor car crash

ByThe Associated Press
May 7, 2024, 11:31 AM

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta City Council has agreed to pay $3.8 million to settle a lawsuit by the family of a church deacon who died in a struggle with a city police officer following a minor car crash.

Deacon Johnny Hollman's family sued the the city, Officer Kiran Kimbrough and Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum in January, alleging Kimbrough used excessive force after the 62-year-old refused to sign a citation finding him at fault for the crash.

An attorney for Kimbrough has said Hollman resisted arrest and Kimbrough acted lawfully when he deployed his stun gun and used force.

The city council, without comment, unanimously approved the settlement at its regular meeting on Monday.

An attorney for Hollman's family, Mawuli Davis, issued a statement saying the settlement allows the family to “focus on healing from the devastating and senseless loss of their beloved father.”

Hollman's daughter, Arnitra, expressed gratitude to Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and the city council.

“On behalf of my siblings and our entire family, we want to thank all the people across Atlanta who have supported us in our fight for justice for our father," she said in the statement.

Body camera video of Hollman’s Aug. 10 arrest shows Kimbrough shocked him with a stun gun after the deacon repeatedly said he could not breathe. An autopsy determined Hollman’s death was a homicide, with heart disease also a contributing factor.

Relatives say Hollman was driving home from Bible study at his daughter’s house and taking dinner to his wife when he collided with another vehicle while turning across a busy street just west of downtown.

In the body camera video released in November, Kimbrough repeatedly demands that Hollman sign the citation, but Hollman insists he did nothing wrong. The two men begin to tussle.

Hollman ends up face down on the ground with Kimbrough over him, pressing him down. He repeatedly says “I can’t breathe,” and Kimbrough uses a Taser to shock him. Hollman becomes unresponsive.

He was later declared dead at a hospital.