'I Can't Breathe': Body Camera Footage Shows Atlanta Police Fatally Tasing Church Deacon Suffering from Asthma

Johnny Hollman
Johnny Hollman YouTube

Body camera video released on Wednesday shows the moment an Atlanta police officer used a stun gun on Johnny Hollman, a 62-year-old church deacon who died after the Aug. 10 encounter.

The video, which was made public at the request of his family, shows Hollman attempting to explain to Officer Kiran Kimbrough that he was making a left turn when another vehicle ran into his pickup truck.

Hollman Refused to Sign the Ticket Because He Believed He Wasn't at Fault

Hollman says he did nothing wrong. The situation escalates, the video shows, when Hollman initially refuses to sign a citation. A struggle ensues, and Kimbrough takes Hollman to the ground, uses a stun gun on him and then handcuffs him behind his back, according to the video. Kimbrough requests EMS when he realizes Hollman is unresponsive.

Hollman was pronounced dead at the hospital. An autopsy determined the manner of death was a homicide, with the medical examiner saying heart disease was a contributing factor. Hollman's family has said he called the police after he got into a minor traffic accident while driving home from Bible study at a daughter's house.

Atlanta police said in their initial statement that Hollman became "agitated and uncooperative" when the officer found him to be the at-fault driver and issued him a citation.

'I Can't Breathe'

The video shows Kimbrough asking Hollman several times to sign the citation. In the video, Hollman pulls out his phone. Attorney Mawuli Davis, who is representing Hollman's family, said Hollman was calling Fallins.

As Hollman appears to dial his daughter's number, Kimbrough grabs him.

"OK, I'm going to sign the ticket," Hollman says as a struggle ensues and he is taken to the ground and placed on his stomach.

Davis alleged that Kimbrough did a leg sweep, causing Hollman to fall to the ground. While Hollman is on the ground, the officer yells for him to "sign the ticket" and "put your arms behind your back." Hollman is heard screaming for help, repeatedly saying, "I can't breathe" and that he was suffering from asthma.

Officer Kimbrough was Fired Last Month

Johnny Hollman and Kiran Kimbrough
Johnny Hollman (left) and Kiran Kimbrough Twitter

The video shows Kimbrough using his stun gun on Hollman and then yelling for Hollman to put his hands behind his back. Hollman is not saying anything and does not appear to be moving, the video shows.

In the video, Kimbrough tells officers that he struck Hollman several times when Hollman tried to grab him. "I took him to the ground and stuff, and he started grabbing my hand like he was finna hit me, so I punched him a couple of times, Tased him, put him in cuffs," the officer is heard saying. "I don't know what's going on with him now. He's still breathing, though."

The video is graphic in nature. Viewer discretion is advised:

Kimbrough was fired last month because he did not follow standard operating procedures. The police department said Wednesday that an on-scene supervisor must approve a physical arrest for refusal to sign a citation.

After the fatal incident, the police department made several changes, including revising its standard operating procedures regarding traffic citations and allowing officers to write "refusal to sign" instead of making arrests, according to the mayor's office, which said it instructed the police department to "conduct a top-to-bottom review" of the incident and its policies.