Family attorney calls settlement from city over Johnny Hollman death vindication

It’s vindication attorney Harold Spence says the family of 62-year-old Johnny Hollman have waited months to receive.

“Deacon Hollman did not cause his own death,” Spence said.

This week, the City of Atlanta agreed to settle with Hollman’s family for $3.8 million dollars.

“It also represented a tangible acknowledgment by the City of Atlanta that it was indeed responsible for Deacon Hollman’s death,” Spence said.

Hollman died last year after getting tased by former Atlanta police officer Kiran Kimbrough. Police say Hollman refused to sign the traffic ticket, something Hollman’s family disagrees with.

“When they came to us initially, they did not come to us about a civil lawsuit,” Spence said.

Spence told Channel 2 investigative reporter Ashli Lincoln that the family’s main objectives were to clear their father’s name and effect change so this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

“This incomparable narrative where a citizen involved in a minor traffic accident could be killed over not he signed a traffic citation,” he said.


Since Hollman’s passing, the Atlanta Police Department has changed its policy regarding arrest for signature refusal.

The City of South Fulton adopted an ordinance in Hollmans’ namesake, making it policy for officers to write refusal to sign.

“So that no citizen will be arrested for merely refusing to sign a citation,” Spence said.

Georgia lawmakers attempted to pass House Bill 1054. The bill would have allowed drivers to accept traffic citations without signing.

The bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate.

“We hope that next legislative session this issue will come up again, and along with the family we will be firmly behind efforts enacting a state law on addressing refusal to sign traffic tickets,” Spence said.

Hollman’s family is still calling for criminal charges to be filed against the former police officer and a tow truck driver who assisted the officer in restraining Hollman.

We’ve reached out to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ office for an update on her investigation into this.

Her office hasn’t responded yet.