New procedures for handling traffic citations have been implemented by the Atlanta Police Department following the death of 62-year-old Johnny Hollman during an altercation with an officer.
Johnny Hollman died on August 10 after a physical struggle with an Atlanta police officer. The incident occurred around 11:20 p.m. at the intersection of Cunningham Place and Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard. Hollman allegedly resisted the officer’s instructions, leading to the use of a Taser. Despite this, Hollman continued to resist and later became unresponsive after being taken into custody. He was rushed to a local hospital where he died.
Today, the Atlanta Police Department announced changes to its Standard Operating Procedures regarding traffic citations. Officers will now write “refusal to sign” in the signature line of a citation if a driver refuses to sign, instead of making an arrest. The change comes after what the police department called a top-to-bottom evaluation of the department’s interaction with Hollman, directed by Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens.
Why It Matters:
The procedural change aims to reduce the likelihood of physical confrontations during traffic stops, a direct response to the circumstances that led to Hollman’s death. It’s a move toward earning and retaining community trust, particularly in light of ongoing concerns about police conduct.
Investigations by both the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Atlanta Police Department into Hollman’s death are still underway. The findings will be turned over to the Atlanta Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for review. Meanwhile, the new traffic citation procedures are already in effect.
The Atlanta community has been vocal about the need for police reform, and this change in procedure is a step in that direction. Mayor Dickens’ directive for a comprehensive review of the department’s Standard Operating Procedures and training curriculum indicates a commitment to addressing these concerns.