Secoriea Turner’s Parents Sue Atlanta Police Chief, Mayor, and Others

 

Last July 4, eight-year-old Secoriea Turner was shot and killed as she rode in the back seat of a car with her mother, Charmaine Turner, and Omar Ivery. Their vehicle was shot at because they had made a wrong turn and found themselves near a then burned down Wendy’s restaurant, the sight of the police shooting death of Rayshard Brooks a few weeks earlier. In the intervening weeks, the Wendy’s had become the focal point of protests over Brooks’ death and the site of several violent acts, including the burning down of the restaurant. Armed individuals had set up a roadblock and had effective control of the area. This is the location young Secoriea and her family found themselves on that fateful July evening.

Other factors leading up to Turner’s murder include the firing of Officer Garrett Rolfe, the officer involved in the 6/12/20 shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, and murder charges being filed against Rolfe by Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard. Howard was in a tight reelection campaign (which he later lost), and many thought the quick filing of charges against Rolfe was more political than a decision based on the evidence. Rolfe has later been reinstated to the force, but his murder trial is still pending.

Additionally, Atlanta Chief of Police Erika Shields resigned on June 13, 2020, with groups like the NAACP calling for her resignation in the wake of the Brooks shooting death. Shields was popular among Atlanta’s police officers. Earlier in June, six Atlanta Police Department officers were charged by District Attorney Howard with excessive force after tazing two college students who had violated Atlanta’s curfew. The curfew was put in place by Mayor Bottoms after several days of protests, looting, and destruction of property.

Needless to say, the relationship between Atlanta’s political leadership and Atlanta’s police force, had deteriorated in June of 2020 leading to the “blue flu” rumors and allegations.

Monday, Turner’s parents filed a lawsuit against the City of Atlanta, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Interim Police Chief Rodney Brooks, Atlanta Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd, and the Wendy’s corporation.

Local reporter George Chidi has been writing about the rise of crime in Atlanta and has a good article about this lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed today by Davis and the Cochran Firm appears to be the first to seek accountability for the “blue flu” sickout by the Atlanta police following the death of Rayshard Brooks and subsequent murder charge filed against officer Garrett Rolfe.

“Records from APD show that between Wednesday June 17, 2020, and Saturday June 20, 2020, a total of 171 APD police officers called out “sick,” the suit states.

I see in two places, the Secoriea Turner lawsuit makes factual allegations relying on my reporting from the protests.

”Following the news of the District Attorney’s charges, Major Kelley Collier sent a memo to APD officers on June 17, 2020 telling officers to refrain from ‘proactive’ policing,” the suit states, quoting my Intercept piece from June 24. “The memo stated as follows: ‘If not, effective immediately, we will operate as police officers and will respond when violence occurs in an officer’s presence and will respond to victims of violence. We will not be overly proactive in any shape, form or fashion. We are concerned about keeping our officers safe and healthy.’”

It also quotes a brief interview with one of the armed vigilantes. “A witness to the June 20th shooting (a drive-by shooting near the Wendy’s on 6/20/20 – Buzz) reportedly stated, ‘The police were here when the guy got shot. They saw the guy get shot. They saw the car that was shooting at us, and they didn’t pursue him.’”

Protecting the audio recording of that interview cost me a beating when I refused to hand over my cell phone to the vigilantes.

Blue flu will be an issue in this trial, but so to will be the actions of Mayor Bottoms and Councilwoman Sheperd. What is the origin of the memo to officers to refrain from proactive policing, and what role did that play in young Secoriea’s death? Was it ordered by Atlanta’s politicians or a decision made internally by Atlanta Police Department leadership?

I personally place little blame on rank and file officers. However, Police Department leadership, as well as Atlanta’s political leadership must be held accountable, if it can be proven their actions contributed to this horrible event.

As we approach the anniversary of her murder, we still owe it to Secoriea to bring her killers to justice, and hold those in authority accountable for allowing armed individuals to control the area around that Wendy’s.

Published in Policing
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  1. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    I hope this lawsuit does help rein in this insidious and horrible “stand-down” mentality prevalent in nearly all of our cities.  

    In an aside, why name Wendy’s in the suit, other than deep pockets theory.  I see Wendy’s as a victim too.  They certainly didn’t do anything to encourage or enable the original shooting, or the subsequent Wendy’s autonomous zone. But deep pockets are always a target. 

    • #1
  2. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    “We didn’t feel like doing our jobs that day” doesn’t cut it. You got paid, you do the job. 

    • #2
  3. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    TBA (View Comment):

    “We didn’t feel like doing our jobs that day” doesn’t cut it. You got paid, you do the job.

    Not so much when officers are vilified as systemically racist in general, and charged with murder when performing their jobs. 

    • #3
  4. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    The people of Atlanta are getting the government they voted for.  Don’t let your city do the same.

    • #4
  5. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    “We didn’t feel like doing our jobs that day” doesn’t cut it. You got paid, you do the job.

    Not so much when officers are vilified as systemically racist in general, and charged with murder when performing their jobs.

    Yes that does present a bit of a problem, doesn’t it? Was the little girl shot by the police or was she shot by some hoodlums hanging out in the area? Why was the mother riding with her daughter in a car in that well-known dangerous area? And, indeed, what by anyone’s fanciful imagination has Wendy’s got anything to do with it?

    • #5
  6. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    I hope this lawsuit does help rein in this insidious and horrible “stand-down” mentality prevalent in nearly all of our cities.

    In an aside, why name Wendy’s in the suit, other than deep pockets theory. I see Wendy’s as a victim too. They certainly didn’t do anything to encourage or enable the original shooting, or the subsequent Wendy’s autonomous zone. But deep pockets are always a target.

    Wendy’s ought to be suing right alongside the parents . . .

    • #6
  7. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Nohaaj (View Comment):
    I hope this lawsuit does help rein in this insidious and horrible “stand-down” mentality prevalent in nearly all of our cities.  

    The police are damned if they do far far more than if they don’t.

    I don’t blame the police one bit for deciding to do the minimum.

    • #7
  8. buzzbrockway Member
    buzzbrockway
    @buzzbrockway

    cdor (View Comment):

     

    Yes that does present a bit of a problem, doesn’t it? Was the little girl shot by the police or was she shot by some hoodlums hanging out in the area? Why was the mother riding with her daughter in a car in that well-known dangerous area? And, indeed, what by anyone’s fanciful imagination has Wendy’s got anything to do with it?

     

    She was not shot by police. An arrest has been made. 

    They were in the area because they made a wrong turn. They were trying to leave when bullets were sprayed into their car.

    I think it’s silly to include Wendy’s, but it’s not uncommon in lawsuits to name everybody and see who offers you money.

    • #8
  9. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    buzzbrockway (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):

     

    Yes that does present a bit of a problem, doesn’t it? Was the little girl shot by the police or was she shot by some hoodlums hanging out in the area? Why was the mother riding with her daughter in a car in that well-known dangerous area? And, indeed, what by anyone’s fanciful imagination has Wendy’s got anything to do with it?

     

    She was not shot by police. An arrest has been made.

    They were in the area because they made a wrong turn. They were trying to leave when bullets were sprayed into their car.

    I think it’s silly to include Wendy’s, but it’s not uncommon in lawsuits to name everybody and see who offers you money.

    I have my doubts about the legal responsibility of the Atlanta police, but I have been disappointed that Secoriea Turner’s death did not become widely known as Black Lives Matter Murders Black Girl. Black lives do not matter to Black Lives Matter. 

    • #9
  10. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    When the voters begin to realize that they should start voting for adults, and that stupidity, or evil is not dependent upon a person’s skin color there will be a change on the streets.

    Why should anyone be surprised that cops will become call taker’s, after all who wants to be the latest media villain.

    Still one of my favorite photos, cops turning their backs to DeBalsio. Police officer’s are not a mayor’s private army that are there to further the mayor’s political agenda.

    See the source image

    • #10
  11. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I don’t know Georgia law on the issue.  This would be a very difficult claim to make in Arizona, and I expect that it would be dismissed.  There’s generally not a right to police protection that is enforceable in an action for damages.

    There can be exceptions, in Arizona, as when police undertake to respond but do so negligently.  The example that I recall (somewhat vaguely) is a case in which a 911 operator sent cops to the wrong address, and as a result, two people were murdered.  But if the theory is just “you should have been enforcing the law more effectively,” I don’t think that the claim would pass legal muster, at least in Arizona.

    • #11
  12. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    buzzbrockway: “The memo stated as follows: ‘If not, effective immediately, we will operate as police officers and will respond when violence occurs in an officer’s presence and will respond to victims of violence. We will not be overly proactive in any shape, form or fashion. We are concerned about keeping our officers safe and healthy.’”

    Disgusting leadership.  Understandable Blue Flu on the part of the police.

    • #12
  13. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    I think it’s silly to include Wendy’s, but it’s not uncommon in lawsuits to name everybody and see who offers you money.

    It’s worse than that.

    In our idiot tort system, if Wendy’s is 1% liable for the tort, they can actually be forced to pay the entire judgement if they have the money.  

    • #13
  14. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    There is a lot closed and dead downtown. 

    • #14
  15. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    buzzbrockway (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):

    Yes that does present a bit of a problem, doesn’t it? Was the little girl shot by the police or was she shot by some hoodlums hanging out in the area? Why was the mother riding with her daughter in a car in that well-known dangerous area? And, indeed, what by anyone’s fanciful imagination has Wendy’s got anything to do with it?

    She was not shot by police. An arrest has been made.

    Julian Conley, 19, charged with aggravated assault and felony murder. Police said that two males (do not dignify them by calling them men) fired on the car she was in.

    They were in the area because they made a wrong turn. They were trying to leave when bullets were sprayed into their car.

    It’s very easy to make a wrong turn, and Google Maps will not warn you away from high crime areas.

    I think it’s silly to include Wendy’s, but it’s not uncommon in lawsuits to name everybody and see who offers you money.

    “Nobody understands the law but the lawyers, and they don’t know right from wrong.”

    If only Rayshard Brooks had not driven while drunk, fought with the arresting officer, taken the officer’s taser, run, and then fired back over his shoulder at the pursuing officer.

    • #15
  16. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):
    If only Rayshard Brooks had not driven while drunk, fought with the arresting officer, taken the officer’s taser, run, and then fired back over his shoulder at the pursuing officer.

    Yes, if only that and, no doubt, many other unlawful acts he committed in his life, then maybe all of the incidents that happened as a result would not have happened and that little girl would still be alive. If only…

    • #16
  17. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    cdor (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):
    If only Rayshard Brooks had not driven while drunk, fought with the arresting officer, taken the officer’s taser, run, and then fired back over his shoulder at the pursuing officer.

    Yes, if only that and, no doubt, many other unlawful acts he committed in his life, then maybe all of the incidents that happened as a result would not have happened and that little girl would still be alive. If only…

    It has been speculated that the reason he fought with the police was that he was a convicted felon (for some sort of violent crime, I think) and that a drunk driving conviction would have been a violation of the conditions of probation.

    • #17
  18. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Courts generally hate these kinds of suits.  The preferred remedy is to vote the buggers out.  But urban voters are not discerning nor demanding and so the corrupt buffoons they enable do not properly execute their office and awful things happen.

    • #18
  19. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):
    If only Rayshard Brooks had not driven while drunk, fought with the arresting officer, taken the officer’s taser, run, and then fired back over his shoulder at the pursuing officer.

    Yes, if only that and, no doubt, many other unlawful acts he committed in his life, then maybe all of the incidents that happened as a result would not have happened and that little girl would still be alive. If only…

    It has been speculated that the reason he fought with the police was that he was a convicted felon (for some sort of violent crime, I think) and that a drunk driving conviction would have been a violation of the conditions of probation.

    I think I recall that he was on parole for a violent crime conviction.

    • #19
  20. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):
    If only Rayshard Brooks had not driven while drunk, fought with the arresting officer, taken the officer’s taser, run, and then fired back over his shoulder at the pursuing officer.

    Yes, if only that and, no doubt, many other unlawful acts he committed in his life, then maybe all of the incidents that happened as a result would not have happened and that little girl would still be alive. If only…

    It has been speculated that the reason he fought with the police was that he was a convicted felon (for some sort of violent crime, I think) and that a drunk driving conviction would have been a violation of the conditions of probation.

    I think I recall that he was on parole for a violent crime conviction.

    From Wackypedia: “In August of 2014, he was convicted and sentenced to a year in prison on four counts, including false imprisonment and felony cruelty to children. Two years later he was sentenced to an additional 12 months for violating his probation.”

    • #20
  21. Midwest Southerner Member
    Midwest Southerner
    @MidwestSoutherner

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    The people of Atlanta are getting the government they voted for. Don’t let your city do the same.

    As a former citizen of Atlanta, I can say without hesitation that the city’s leadership (if you can call it that) has long been lacking; easily for decades.

     

    • #21