BREAKING | Police chief fires Atlanta officer after deacon dies during arrest

An Atlanta police officer who attempted to arrest a church deacon who then died after being stunned by a Taser has been fired, Chief Darin Schierbaum said Tuesday.

Kiran Kimbrough was terminated for not having a supervisor present when he attempted to arrest Johnny Hollman in August, the chief said. Investigators have said Hollman, 62, was determined to be the at-fault driver in a minor car crash and became agitated when the officer tried to cite him.

“Every single person and life in the City of Atlanta matters to me,” Schierbaum said in a news release. “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.”

ExploreFamily of church deacon Tased by Atlanta officer meets with Fulton DA

The announcement comes one day after Hollman’s family met with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to discuss the case. The family has requested that body camera footage of the incident be released, but Atlanta police said that cannot happen until the GBI investigation is completed. The GBI was requested to assist with the investigation because it involved the use of force.

The officer, who had no law enforcement experience prior to joining Atlanta police, was hired by the department in March 2021. According to Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council records, he had no disciplinary history.

Kimbrough’s firing comes after the Atlanta Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards investigated the incident.

Hollman’s death was ruled a homicide, caused by a combination of the officer’s Taser and heart disease, according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office. According to the autopsy report, Hollman was “unresponsive from the time that the energy device was deployed.” He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Hollman also had underlying conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and obesity, which the medical examiner determined contributed to his death.

After the incident, Hollman’s truck was impounded and found to contain nine bags of marijuana, about 28 grams of an unknown substance, 20 clear bags, a scale, a gun and other personal items, according to the police report. The document does not state if a DUI test was performed at the scene or if Hollman appeared to be under the influence.

Hollman’s family attorney, Mawuli Davis, said the gun found in the vehicle did not belong to Hollman, but instead to one of his grandsons. The attorney added that Hollman shared the vehicle with multiple people in his family, and the drugs seized were not his and had “nothing to do with the officer tasing him, ultimately leading to his death.”

According to toxicology findings included in Hollman’s autopsy report, his blood tested positive for THC, the main component of marijuana. THC can appear on a drug test several days or even months after it is ingested, according to WebMD. The average detection time for the drug to show up in blood tests is three hours to two days, the medical website states.

— Please return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates.

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