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Family of 8-year-old girl fatally shot during last summer's protests sues Atlanta

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is one of several city leaders named in a civil lawsuit filed Monday by the family of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner, who was shot dead last summer during protests that erupted in the city. File photo by UPI
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is one of several city leaders named in a civil lawsuit filed Monday by the family of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner, who was shot dead last summer during protests that erupted in the city. File photo by UPI | License Photo

June 8 (UPI) -- The family of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner, who was fatally shot last summer during protests in Atlanta, has filed a lawsuit against the city and its leaders for failing to fulfill their duties to protect the public.

"Secoriea should be here," Charmaine Turner, Secoria's mother said Monday during a press conference announcing the lawsuit. "None of what we're doing will ever bring our baby back. Her life is priceless. We're forced to live through this day by day. We deserve justice. Someone needs to be held accountable."

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The civil complaint filed Monday in Fulton County State Court accuses the city of Atlanta, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, police chief Rodney Bryant and Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd for "failing to perform ministerial duties and responsibilities relating to the protection of public health and safety."

Secoriea was killed July 4 amid protests in the city that erupted following the June 12 police-involved shooting death of Rayshard Brooks in the parking lot of a Wendy's restaurant.

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Charmaine, Secoriea and friend Omar Ivery were in a vehicle driving home from a family gathering that night when they approached a makeshift barricade near the Wendy's where armed individuals walked toward the vehicle.

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As Ivery, who was driving, approached the roadblock, one or more people opened fire, striking the car with eight bullets. Secoriea, who was sitting in the backseat of the car, was hit an pronounced dead later that evening at the Atlanta Medical Center.

Wendy's International and University Venture, LLC, as the owner of the lot the restaurant is located on, were also named in the lawsuit.

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The complaint accuses those named of allowing "armed and violent individuals to encamp on and take control of a major city street by erecting barriers in the middle of University Avenue and deciding who would be allowed to pass."

According to the complaint, Bottoms said following Secoriea's death that police had planned to clear the University Avenue area of barricades erected by protesters as well as those who had encamped there but were delayed in doing so by Sheperd who requested "more time" to negotiate with the protesters.

"The problem is that they failed to take any actions to address the reports of crime, the reports of violence and the reports of danger within that area until after it was too late," Sam Stark, an attorney for the family, said during the press conference. "So, it wasn't until after Secoriea's tragic death that the city finally did what they should have done weeks before."

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Police have arrested Julian Conley, 19, who has been charged with murder and aggravated assault for Secoriea's death but authorities have said four people opened fire on the car.

Secoriey Williamson, Secoriea's father, told the reporters that they filed the lawsuit to hold those responsible to account.

"We are here for accountability, for everyone that caused this to happen," he said.

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