'I can't breathe': Body cam video shows church deacon being tased by Atlanta police officer

Former Atlanta Police Officer Kiran Kimbrough's body-worn camera shows the moment he repeatedly tased 62-year-old Johnny Hollman during a dispute over a traffic ticket in August 2023. (Atlanta Police Department/Screenshot)

The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office has released nearly an hour of body camera footage from a now-former Atlanta police officer who repeatedly shocked a church deacon with a Taser during a dispute over a traffic ticket.

The video is part of an ongoing investigation into the death of 62-year-old Johnny Hollman.

It shows ex-Atlanta Police Officer Kiran Kimbrough shocking the deacon with a Taser on Aug. 10, while he’s lying on the ground and calling for help.

“I can’t breathe,” Hollman says at least a dozen times.

Kimbrough then handcuffs him and tries to get him to sit up.

“I think he passed out on me,” Kimbrough says in the video. “Wake up.”

Hollman died at Grady Memorial Hospital.

Kimbrough was fired from the Atlanta Police Department in October — two months after the altercation — for failing to follow department procedures during Hollman’s arrest, but he has since appealed that decision and is awaiting a hearing.

Meanwhile, Hollman’s family members dispute the account laid out by authorities that he became combative after Kimbrough found him at fault for a minor car crash. The Atlanta Police Department later changed its traffic citation procedure.

About 40 people gathered at First Iconium Baptist Church this week for a candlelight prayer vigil for Hollman in anticipation of the video’s release.

The deacon’s eldest daughter, Arnitra Hollman, said she hopes the video will help clear his name.

“I thank God as we’re moving forward in getting justice for my father,” Arnitra said. “The public should expect to see exactly what we saw — murder. Senseless murder.”

Arnitra said Hollman called her that night after Kimbrough kept insisting that he sign the traffic ticket and threatened to take him to jail. According to Arnitra, she stayed on the phone with him for 17 minutes and 46 seconds while she drove to the scene.

The family’s attorney, Muwali Davis, said it’s uncommon for authorities to release body camera footage, especially in Atlanta. He credits community organizers and Hollman’s church for putting pressure on them to get it done.

“The release of this video is a change,” Davis said. “District Attorney Fani Willis acknowledged that their process going forward would be — every 60 days — to meet with the [Georgia Bureau of Investigation] and determine what can be released if there’s a video involved. And so, Deacon Johnny Hollman’s life is already being impactful.”

While the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled Hollman’s death a homicide caused by a combination of the officer’s Taser and heart disease, authorities have not filed any charges.

The district attorney’s office said it agreed to release the video after determining it would not interfere with any investigations into the use of force. It had previously asked APD and GBI to withhold the footage.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and Police Chief Darin Schierbaum did not respond to a request for comment.