The family of Secoriea Turner, the 8-year-old who was shot and killed outside of the Wendy’s restaurant where demonstrations were taking place in the wake of the June 12 police shooting of Rayshard Brooks, have announced plans to sue the City of Atlanta, her family’s attorneys announced in a press conference on Monday (Oct. 19).
The third-grader was slain July 4, when a group of men carrying weapons stopped the car she was riding in with her mother at a makeshift barrier and began shooting at the vehicle. Police believe as many as four people may have been involved in the incident, but the only arrest made in the case was July 16, when Julian Conley, 19, turned himself in to authorities. He was charged with aggravated assault and felony murder.
Although Secoriea’s family is demanding that those responsible for her death be held accountable, they also believe that the city is complicit.
“Who else other than the mayor acting in her specific capacity could direct the police department to stand down in the face of armed vigilantes taking over an area?” family attorney Harold Spence said at the press conference.
A second family attorney, Mawuli Davis, said the city letting demonstrators control parts of Atlanta after Brooks was killed ultimately led to Secoriea’s death.
“They knew that there were armed vigilantes blockading a public street and they took no action to rid the citizens of Atlanta of this menace and of this dangerous circumstance and situation. Because of it, Secoriea Turner, an 8 year-old, was murdered,” Davis said.
“We have learned that there were memos sent to the police department, not to provide services in that area."
The attorneys say the family will file suit unless a $15 million settlement is reached with the city, according to local Atlanta station WSB-TV.
“They violated their ministry of duty, to provide protection and the health and safety for Secoriea and her family,” Tiffany Hodge, another family attorney said. “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
Atlanta officials told WSB-TV that they have not yet been served with a lawsuit.
Meanwhile, activists held a rally on Saturday (Oct. 17) to advocate for the development of the Rayshard Brooks Peace Center. The site of the proposed memorial honoring the slain father is at the site of the Wendy’s restaurant where he was killed and was subsequently burned down by protestors.
With more than 1,000 signatures collected, family members and activists are demanding that city officials allow them to continue their negotiation with Wendy’s to create the site.
“I hope to see the good that we’re trying to do and that everything goes through and it proceeds for something positive,” Brooks’ widow Tomika Miller told WSB-TV.