AUC Students Help Lead Protest for the Death of a 62-Year-Old Deacon After Police Encounter

Image via Auzzy Byrdsell


By: Auzzy Byrdsell, Editor in Chief


On Aug. 24, AUC students helped lead a protest and marched for the death of 62-year-old Johnny Hollman who died after a violent encounter with the Atlanta Police Department (APD).


At 11:20 p.m. on Aug. 10, Hollman was involved in a car crash at the intersection of Cunningham Place and Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard.


According to Fox 5, Hollman did not comply with police after he was identified as the at-fault- driver. The Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) reports that Hollman was “agitated and uncooperative” with the law enforcement agent.  Hollman’s reported refusal to cooperate resulted in him being tasered and handcuffed.


Hollman was unarmed.


Getting tasered left Hollman unconscious, and he was later hospitalized at a nearby hospital where he died. The cause of death is currently unknown according to the GBI.


Both GBI and APD are currently investigating the matter. 


Hollman’s daughter, 47-year-old Arnitra Fallins, was on the phone the entire time during his encounter with the police. She raced to the scene of the accident where she found APD attempting to resuscitate her father. 


Hollman’s children, siblings and grandchildren and more were all present at the protest. He was a father of five and grandfather of 22.


The protesters began at the APD headquarters and marched to City Hall with megaphones and signs with a plethora of messages like “Justice for Johnny Hollman.” Protesters also used the space to speak out against the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center that is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 2024. 


Morehouse College junior Amir Childs volunteered to help guide the protest through traffic as they marched through the streets. 


“That man did not have to die; it’s important for us to be out here,” Childs said. 


Before the march, Morehouse juniors Daxon Pettus and Noah Collier spoke to the entire crowd. They offered their  condolences to the Hollman family and gave words of empowerment to the protesters. 


“The reason why I think AUC students need to be invested in this is because the school is moving on our behalf, “ he said. 


“One of the things they’ve verbally supported was the building of Cop City– the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center,” Pettus said.  


In Feb., Pettus also spoke out against the training center before Morehouse president David A. Thomas and Mayor Andre Dickens. 


“We as students need to be more outspoken because we need to be a supporting force within our community,” he said. 


Pettus along with other AUC representatives helped lead chants during the march and at City Hall. Spelman College alumna Kannette King also joined. 


“The AUC holds the memories and experiences of Black people,” King said. 


“As Black people at an institution for Black students it’s important to advocate for the Black voices in our communities,” she said. 


She said the AUC holds a strong history of student activism, and the role of advocacy and activism is not a choice for the AUC.


Several local organizations spoke and orchestrated the march like the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Faith and Freedom Coalition and Community Movement Builders.  


“Justice for Johnny Hollmon looks like indicting and ultimately having those officers that killed him in jail and also not building Cop City and restructuring the city that killed him in the first place,” King said. 


Hollman served as the chairman for the deacon board at his church and left behind for 15 years. His funeral services will be held at Springfield Baptists Church in Atlanta. 


Copy Edited by: Colin Royal, Managing Editor of Print