‘We Would Have Hoped That It Happened a Lot Sooner’: Atlanta Cop Indicted for 2019 Killing of Black Man Months After Victim’s Mom Dies

For nearly four years, Jimmy Hill of Atlanta has held his 3-foot tall sign of his son’s face plastered alongside that of his son’s killer.

“I have to keep going because that’s my son, and I love him. It’s the right thing to do,” Hill said.

The 60-year-old says his ongoing fight for justice has reached a milestone because former Atlanta Police Officer Sung Kim was finally indicted for felony murder, involuntary manslaughter, and other charges on Dec. 16 in connection with the death of Hill’s son Jimmy Atchison.

Jimmy Atchison was 21 when he died on Jan. 22, 2019. He was the target of Atlanta’s Metro Major Offender Task Force in a raid in connection with charges he robbed a woman of her purse and cellphone at gunpoint. The task force included Atlanta Police officers alongside the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Marshals. In June 2019, APD announced it would remove its officers from the task force because it wanted its officers to use body cameras while on duty. Federal agencies would not allow federally deputized officers to wear body cameras at that time.

The morning of the raid at an apartment complex in northwest Atlanta, WAGA reports, police said Atchison “ran when members of the Task Force showed up at his girlfriend’s apartment.”

An FBI spokesperson said Atchison “jumped out a window of one of the apartments, jumped down a couple of floors. There was a foot chase that ensued into another apartment building and into another apartment.”

Officer Kim found an unarmed Atchison hiding inside a closet inside the apartment after the foot chase and shot him in the face. Kim claimed he thought Atchison was holding a gun.

“My son, they brought him out in a body bag, and he surrendered. He complied with Sung Kim’s commands, and he surrendered,” Hill said.

In October 2019, Kim retired from the Atlanta Police Department after 26 years in law enforcement.

Jimmy Hill protesting the death of his son Jimmy Atchison by former APD Officer Sung Kim. (Photo: ABS)

The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office launched an investigation into the shooting, found Kim’s decision to kill Atchison unjustified, and recommended he be charged with felony murder. This month a grand jury indicted Kim on those charges.

Atchison’s family has always maintained he surrendered when held at gunpoint by Kim.

“My son was unarmed and surrendering and was given two conflicting commands,” Hill said.

Further investigation into the shooting by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation revealed officers gave Atchison conflicting commands at the time of the shooting. “One member of the task force instructed Atchison to come out with his hands up. But another voice was overheard telling the father of two not to move,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Despite a case for indictment being ready to go to a grand jury in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic prolonged court proceedings, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office claims.

As Atchison’s family awaited a decision on whether Kim would be indicted, they filed a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Atlanta. The civil case is still being litigated.

Over the years, Atchison’s name has rung out in protests calling for more police accountability.

“Atlanta has a police brutality problem, Georgia has a police brutality problem, and Jimmy Atchison’s name underscores that,” said attorney Gerald Griggs, the president of Atlanta’s NAACP chapter.

As of Dec. 20, the GBI has investigated 111 Georgia police shootings in 2022. This comes after 100 such shootings in 2021, 96 in 2020, and 84 in 2019.

Jimmy Hill, father of Jimmy Atchison, reviews a plaque received for his ongoing fight for justice on behalf of his son. (Photo: ABS)

Since Atchison’s death, Hill says other family members have passed away without witnessing any semblance of justice for what happened to Jimmy.

“In the process, we lost my son’s grandma, we lost his uncle, then we laid his mother to rest May 19 of this year all because of depression and having something to do with this case,” Hill said.

“We would have hoped that it happened a lot sooner,” Griggs added.

Griggs is a longtime friend of Atchison’s family. He says he and the community will continue supporting Atchison’s family until they get a conviction.

“The next steps are pushing for felony murder conviction,” Griggs said.

“You’ve got to keep fighting, even through the suffering, the struggles, the tears and pain. You’ve got to keep fighting,” Hill said.

Jimmy Atchison with his daughter. (Photo: Facebook/JusticeforJimmy)

Hill plans to continue fighting and carrying his 3-foot-tall sign bearing his son’s face in protest until Kim is behind bars. He’s motivated not only by his long-lost son but also by Jimmy Atchison’s two children, 3-year-old Jaylen and 8-year-old Skyler.

“The children are now growing up without their father,” Hill said.

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