Johnny Hollman, a 69-year-old church deacon in Atlanta, was on his way home from bible study when he was involved in a minor car crash. Eventually, officers tased Hollman, who later died. However, the City of Atlanta is now denying requests to release body camera footage of the incident.
Leading up to the fatal encounter, Hollman called his daughter Arnitra. He reportedly rebuffed her attempts to come and join him while he waited. After calling 911, Hollman waited for more than an hour for the police, says Hollman’s family. But according to the Atlanta police, when they arrived on the scene, Hollman was found to be at fault and issued a traffic ticket.
Allegedly, the officers ignored Hollman’s requests to see a sergeant, and informed him that he would go to jail if he refused to sign the ticket.
A report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) shows that Officer Kiran Kimbrough determined that Hollman was “responsible for the crash and attempted to take him into custody. The report stated that Hollman became agitated and uncooperative with Kimbrough, and that Kimbrough had no choice but to use force against the deacon,” writes progressive media outlet People’s World.
Throughout the encounter, Hollman felt that something was off and called his daughter Arnitra again, keeping her on speakerphone so that she could be a witness to his encounter with the police—unfortunately, this was the last time she would hear her father alive.
Although Hollman had allegedly acquiesced to signing the ticket, Officer Kimbrough grabbed Hollman, slammed him to the ground, and tasered him, using a stun gun.
Per local NPR and PBS affiliate WABE, “[t]he City of Atlanta said it will not release the body camera footage related to the death of Johnny Hollman.”
After Hollman’s death, the Atlanta Police Department did promptly make procedural changes with respect to traffic citations.
Nina Hickson, attorney for the city, said the state made the request for the footage to remain unreleased. “We’ve been specifically requested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation not to release those along with the [district attorney], and at this point, they’ve asked us not to release those items publicly until the investigations are over,” says Hickson.
Hickson says that the Georgia Attorney General’s Office also backed this decision.
Hollman’s family is not content with this, and since the death of their loved one at the hands of the police, they have been calling “for the video to be made public and for the officer involved to be arrested and prosecuted,” reports WABE.