Atlanta cop fired over tasing death of church deacon

Francis Akhalbey October 12, 2023
Johnny Hollman (left) died after he was tased by Atlanta police officer Kiran Kimbrough -- Left photo credit: Atlanta Police Department | Right photo via 11Alive

Johnny Hollman, a church deacon, passed away as a result of being tased by Atlanta police officer Kiran Kimbrough during a physical struggle between the two on August 10. On Tuesday, the Atlanta Police Department in a statement announced it had fired Kimbrough as an investigation determined he failed to “follow the department’s standard operating procedures” during the encounter that night, 11Alive reported.

The August 10 incident occurred after Hollman, a deacon at The Lively Stones of God Ministries Church of Atlanta, contacted police to report an accident he had gotten involved in. Kimbrough, who responded to the accident scene, later tried to issue the deceased 62-year-old a citation after establishing he caused the accident. But Hollman refused to sign the citation.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigations also initially stated that when Kimbrough later tried to arrest Hollman, the deceased victim became “non-compliant” and refused to be taken into custody. A taser was subsequently discharged.

Atlanta police had also initially said the struggle between Hollman and Kimbrough lasted “several minutes.” The struggle later left Hollman in an unresponsive state, and he was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. The 62-year-old’s cause of death was ruled as cardiac dysrhythmia stemming from the tasing.

Besides “failing to follow the department’s standard operating procedures”, the Atlanta Police Department also said Kimbrough “violated standard operating procedure when he failed to have a supervisor on the scene prior to proceeding with the physical arrest after Mr. Hollman failed to sign the citation.”

“Every single person and life in the City of Atlanta matters to me,” Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said. “Part of my job is to assess, evaluate, and adjust how this police department is carrying out its sworn mission to serve and protect the citizens of this city. I understand the difficult and dangerous job that our officers do each and every day throughout the city. I do not arrive at these decisions lightly. Only after a diligent review of all of the facts, while ensuring the due process of our officers, do I arrive at my decision.”

But Hollman’s family registered their displeasure over Kimbrough’s termination at a press conference, 11Alive reported. The deceased deacon’s daughter, Anitra Hollman, had initially claimed that her father called her during his encounter with Kimbrough, adding that she heard her father say he couldn’t breathe during the struggle.

“We don’t want him to work at another police department,” Anitra said. “Yes, we want him prosecuted. Yes, we want him in jail.” 

And though Hollman’s family has reviewed the body-camera footage of the incident, they have been demanding for the recording to be released. The Atlanta Police Department in an initial statement, however, said the “investigative bodies have directed the City not to release until the investigation is closed, as well as a pending administrative investigation.”

“What justice looks like is the prosecution of this officer for crimes he committed against Deacon Hollman,” the attorney representing Hollman’s family, Mawuli Davis, said. “What we saw was murder, we saw an assault against a 62-year-old man who was literally pleading for his life, informing the officer that he could not breathe, informing him of his medical condition and that he was having issues with asthma. And, the officer with malicious intent continued to strike and tase.”

Kimbrough’s attorneys also responded to his termination, saying that he plans to file an appeal. “Officer K. Kimbrough vehemently denies any wrongdoing or policy violations in connection with the investigation, detention, and arrest of Mr. Johnny Hollman. He will appeal his termination reportedly predicated upon his failure to call for a supervisor when Mr. Hollman refused to sign a lawfully issued citation as he was legally obligated to do,” the statement said.

“Our client is a decorated law enforcement officer and looks forward to the release of the entire investigation. The loss of any life is tragic. However, Officer Kimbrough’s actions in detaining Mr. Hollman and making a lawful arrest did not cause Mr. Hollman’s death.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: October 12, 2023


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