The family of Secoriea Turner, an eight-year-old girl shot by armed vigilantes during last summer’s Rayshard Brooks protests, has filed a lawsuit against city officials in Atlanta, claiming they allowed an atmosphere of “lawlessness, violence and vigilantism” in addition to peaceful protest.
“Secoriea should be here. None of what we’re doing will ever bring our baby back. Her life is priceless,” her family said at a press conference on Monday. “We deserve justice. Someone needs to be held accountable.”
Secoriea was killed last July, weeks into protests mourning another tragedy: the police shooting of Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man, who was killed in the parking lot of a Wendy’s fastfood restaurant on 12 June as he ran away after stealing an officer’s stun gun.
The site of Mr Brooks’s death became the scene of protests for weeks, including an encampment and armed men blocking the roads.
Mr Turner, her mother, and a friend approached the site on 4 July. They accidentally tried to make a U-turn and struck a barricade, after which a group began firing into the car.
One individual, Julian Conley, 20, has been charged in connection with the killing, after turning himself in. His attorneys have insisted he was there and was armed, but didn’t fire into the car. The incident began, they continued, because armed individuals at the scene thought people inside the vehicle were firing on them.
Following Secoriea’s death, the state declared a state of emergency, deployed the National Guard, and the Wendy’s franchise was demolished.
The suit, filed in state court, names the city, mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, the Atlanta police chief, and others.
“The murder of Secoriea Turner, as a result of senseless gun violence, is a tragedy that no family should have to endure. Due to the anticipated litigation, the City will offer no further comment, at this time,” a city spokesperson told the Associated Press.
The young girl’s life was one of many lost during last summer’s racial protests. In Louisville, Kentucky, a popular restaurant owner named David McAtee, known for giving discounts to law enforcement, was killed by police as they enforced a curfew during ongoing protests following Breonna Taylor’s death earlier that year.