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Family of Secoriea Turner, 8-year-old girl killed during Rayshard Brooks protests, sues Atlanta and Wendy’s leaders

The parents spoke briefly to reporters Monday about their little cheerleader and football player, who was a rising third-grader and a student at a charter academy in the Bankhead neighborhood of Atlanta.

“None of what we do will ever bring our baby back. Her life is priceless,” said her mother, Charmaine Turner. “We are forced to experience this every day. We deserve justice. Someone must be held accountable.”

The girl’s father, Sekori Williamson, added: “My daughter has to be here with us. We (don’t) have to be here. We don’t expect to be here in a million years.”

7;s International is also mentioned in the suit. An Atlanta police officer shot and killed Reichard Brooks at a fast food chain in southern Atlanta, and the family said the company was required to keep the property safe during subsequent demonstrations.

The 36-page complaint, filed Monday, alleges numerous omissions by city leaders, including that they were negligent in failing to respond to armed vigilantes gathered with peaceful protesters in Wendy.

“But due to the lack of intervention of the accused to control or eliminate the troubles of an armed barricade that obstructs the roads and the violence that surrounded it, Sekorie would have his life today,” the lawsuit said.

Lawyer: City’s inaction has led to a lawsuit

Sekorie was returning from a family gathering in a vehicle with his mother and friend on July 4th, police said. As protests against Brooks’ murder unfolded, the driver tried to turn near Wendy and tried to enter a parking lot where guards had erected an illegal barricade, family lawyers said.

One of the group opened fire on the vehicle, according to police, hitting Turner.

The city was aware of the dangerous situation, Turner family attorney Sam Starks said, citing an July 8 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in which Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bothams said police planned to clear the area but delayed efforts after a member of the Council Joyce Shepherd asked for time to negotiate with the protesters.

Shepard told the newspaper he saw value in hearing injured citizens. If police tried to disperse the large group, some of them armed, the situation could spiral out of control, she said.

Secoriea Turner

In addition to Bottom and Shepard, the suit also includes Police Chief Rodney Bryant, who was appointed interim chief a few weeks before former chief Erica Shields resigned following Brooks’ shooting.

Following the arrest of two officers in the Brooks shooting, 171 officers called sick for four days “because of frustration or dissatisfaction with the charges against their colleagues,” the lawsuit said. The commanders also instructed police officers to avoid patrolling the area unless they witnessed a crime, it said.

“In effect immediately, we will act as police officers and respond when violence occurs in the presence of an officer and respond to victims of violence,” said a note from an Atlanta police major to other supervisors on June 17, 2020. , cited in a lawsuit that Turner’s lawyers provided to CNN.

“We will not be overly active in any form, form or manner. We are concerned with keeping our employees safe and healthy,” the note said.

Starks called it a “failure of city government at the highest levels.”

“The unique thing here is that the whole world knew that Wendy was dangerous,” said defender Mavuli Davis, noting that there were well-publicized shootings and other violence in the area.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency Monday after Sekorie was shot dead, saying “this lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital.”

Davis said the family’s legal team had not received assistance from the city and had requested open documentation for information, which he described as a “very, very difficult task”.

Atlanta Wendy, where Richard Brooks was killed, was destroyed

Sheen Williams, another member of the legal team, questioned why the city refused to take responsibility and said the lawsuit had been filed because almost a year had passed without any action on the part of the city.

“The first tragedy is that we lost an 8-year-old girl,” he said. “The second tragedy is that it was preventable and what we learned in our discovery from the beginning of the case was that there was opportunity after opportunity and notice after notice … to do something about it, and they failed to do that. . “

Offering the parents behind him, Williams said, “It didn’t take them long to lose their daughter’s life. Why does it take the city a long time to fix this? It’s just not the right answer, I think.”

The family has not given a figure for the benefits they are seeking and will leave the jury to decide the amount, Davis said.

The suspect denies involvement

Dennis repeatedly begged protesters to remain peaceful after Brooks’ assassination. She also demanded through the media that Sekoria’s killer appear.

“Please respect this baby’s life. Please, if you know who did this, please pass them on,” she told a news conference. “Enough is enough.”

Bottoms declined to comment on Monday’s lawsuit, saying in a spokesman that Secoriea’s death was the product of “senseless gun violence” that no family should tolerate.

Shepherd and Wendy did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment. The Atlanta Police Department declined to comment on pending lawsuits.

Julian Conley arrives at the Atlanta Police Headquarters on July 15, 2020.

The criminals have offered a $ 20,000 reward for information about the shooting, and the family has raised tens of thousands more, Davis said last year.

About a week and a half after Secorie’s murder, teenage Julian Conley surrendered. At the time, his lawyer said Conley was at the scene carrying a weapon but was not involved in the shooting.

“He was there protesting peacefully,” said attorney Jackie Patterson. “He doesn’t know the people who fired. He just witnessed it.”

Police said other suspects remain at large. Conley said through his lawyer that he had seen “between three and four people” open fire on a car carrying Secoriea.

According to Fulton County Jail records, Conley was detained on bail for aggravated murder, aggravated assault and other charges.

CNN’s Amir Vera and Nick Valencia contributed to this report.

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