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Georgia families who've lost loved ones at hands of law enforcement call for police reform

Families beg lawmakers for police reform.

ATLANTA — It was a gloomy Monday in Atlanta -- but nevertheless, Jimmy Hill went to the Capitol in hopes that lawmakers can see some of the pain he's been enduring over the last few years.

Hill was not alone.

Families whose loved ones have lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement gathered on the steps of the rotunda to ask lawmakers to prioritize police reform.

It comes after people nationwide are collectively processing the brutal Memphis police beating that led to Tyre Nichols' death. Tennessee authorities released the footage Friday. While officers involved were swiftly fired from the force, the families working to keep their loved ones' memories alive said this type of accountability is not common.

“Nobody should get a pass, everybody should be held accountable," Hill said.

Hill said he can relate to what the Nichols family is feeling. 

Hill’s own son – Jimmy Atchison – was shot and killed by a joint FBI and Atlanta Police Task Force in 2019 as they tried to serve an arrest warrant.

It was only last month that one of those officers was indicted with murder.

Hill called the video showing Nichols’ arrest triggering.

“It brought back memories not just my son – but of me," he said, "because I was a victim of police brutality back in 1985 in which they beat me when I said I can’t breathe."

The families who gathered Monday are asking for all law enforcement in Georgia to be required to wear body cameras, for an independent agency to investigate all allegations of excessive force, and for law enforcement to be prohibited from testifying before grand juries.

Demonstrators at the Capitol on Monday say they've become like a family to each other. While it's a group they never hoped to be part of, they say they're thankful for one.

“Sometimes times it's like we out here on an island by ourselves," Hill said. "We stay in touch with each other all the time and we support each other."

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