An autopsy report has ruled that 62-year-old Johnny Hollman’s death was a homicide.
After the Atlanta church deacon was arrested after a minor car crash, an Atlanta police officer stunned him with a Taser and handcuffed him because he refused to sign a ticket, The Independent reports.
According to the report from the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office “Hollman died from cardiac dysrhythmia, or an abnormal heart rhythm, due to the use of the stun gun in association with heart disease.”
The autopsy report said that “[h]ypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases, which are caused by chronic high blood pressure and a buildup of plaque, respectively, were among the primary factors that contributed to his death,” per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and obesity were listed as other contributing factors.”
“Based on my review and interpretation of the video, Mr. Hollman is unresponsive from the time that the energy device (Taser) is deployed,” said Sims-Stanley in the autopsy report. “At no time is neck compression used, and based on the angle of the video, compression of the torso is not identified.”
Before finalizing her conclusions, medical examiner Melissa Sims-Stanley spoke with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) investigator. Sims-Stanley also evaluated the body camera footage, which controversially has not yet been released to the public.
Just last week, the Atlanta City Council made another plea to the Atlanta Police Department (APD) to release the body camera video. However, GBI is still requesting that APD hold off on releasing the body camera video until they’ve completed their investigation.
Since Hollman’s death, the city has made policy changes. Now, officers are allowed to “write ‘refusal to sign’ on a traffic ticket instead of arresting someone who won’t sign.” This policy also mandates officers tell drivers that signing does not signify admitting guilt. It simply acknowledges that they have received the ticket and accompanying court date.
Arnitra Fallins, Hollman’s daughter started a GoFundMe, which as of Tuesday night, had raised over $7,000. Fallins wrote, “This has been going on too long and my family and I are devastated and overwhelmed over this sudden and tragic incident. My daddy didn’t deserve this and we don’t deserve this.”
Hollman’s death at the hands of the police comes while the city is experiencing massive protests around building a controversial multi-million dollar training center for police and firemen, which many are calling “Cop City.”