Family of little girl, 8, killed during Atlanta riots sues city, police chief and Wendy’s for allowing ‘lawlessness, violence and vigilantism

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ATLANTA, GA – In an update pertaining to the fatal shooting of eight-year-old Secoriea Turner that occurred back in July of 2020, the family of the slain girl has reportedly filed a lawsuit against the city of Atlanta and Wendy’s

According to the lawsuit filed, the actions from city officials during that summer – from the mayor to the police chief – permitted the “lawlessness, violence and vigilantism” that led to Secoriea being murdered. 

Charmaine Turner, Secoriea’s mother, spoke to members of the press briefly on June 7th about the filed suit, noting that while there needs to be accountability with officials, nothing will ever bring back her daughter: 

“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.”

The slain girl’s father, Secoriey Williamson, added that their “daughter should be here with us.”

The 36-page complaint that was filed on June 6th alleges failures by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd, and Police Chief Rodney Bryant for how the riots following the death of Rayshard Brooks were handled. 

Secoriea was gunned down by a group of armed vigilantes that were posted around the exterior of the Wendy’s that was burned down in July of 2020. 

The lawsuit says that those named in the suit failed to address these armed vigilantes that summer, which that negligence led to a young girl being murdered:

“But for Defendants’ lack of intervening to control or dismantle the nuisance of an armed barricade that obstructed the roads and the violence that surrounded it, Secoriea would still have her life today.”

Mayor Bottoms was added to the lawsuit for not swiftly clearing out the area where armed vigilantes were roaming for days, as she entertained Councilwoman Sheperd’s request to give her time to try negotiating with the armed presence outside of the Wendy’s restaurant. 

That request is also why Councilwoman Sheperd is named in the suit. 

Atlanta Police Chief Bryant was added in the suit due to his orders to halt officers from engaging in “proactive” policing, which came from a June 17th, 2020 memo following the death of Rayshard Brooks: 

“Effective immediately, we will operate as police officers and will respond when violence occurs in an officer’s presence and will respond to victims of violence…We will not be overly proactive in any shape, form, or fashion. We are concerned about keeping our officers safe and healthy.”

The rationale for adding Wendy’s International to the suit is that the family of Secoriea claims that the fast food chain neglected their duty to ensure their property was safe during the riots and demonstrations in 2020. 

Mawuli Davis, who is part of the co-counsel representing the family, said that everyone knew the danger posed by the Wendy’s that was willfully disregarded: 

“What’s unique here is the whole world knew that the Wendy’s was dangerous.”

Shean Williams, another member of the legal team representing the family, said that Secoriea’s death is emblematic of two tragedies: one being her murder and the second being that could’ve been prevented with proper leadership from officials: 

“The first tragedy is that we lost an 8-year-old girl. The second tragedy is it was preventable, and what we’ve learned in our discovery from the beginning of this case is there was opportunity after opportunity and notice after notice…to do something about this and they failed to do that.”

Referencing the fact that it has been nearly a year since young Secoriea’s murder, Williams added: 

“It didn’t take a lot of time for them to lose their daughter’s life. Why should it take the city a lot of time to make this right? That’s just not the appropriate response, in my view.”

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Law Enforcement Today has provided extensive coverage on this case. 

Here’s our previous report on when the family first mentioned civil action against the city for their daughter’s murder. 

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ATLANTA, GA – While many across America celebrated with friends and loved ones during the Fourth of July, a family in Atlanta, Georgia had lost their had lost their 8-year-old girl from a senseless killing via armed individuals posted outside the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks during an attempted arrest. 

While one suspect is currently in custody, at least one other remains at-large, and the mother of this young girl is pleading with someone to come forward with information

On July 4th, armed radicals had illegally erected barricades University Avenue when 8-year-old Secoriea Turner was riding in a Jeep along with her mother and a friend of her mother’s. 

The driver of the vehicle had turned off the Downtown Connector onto University Avenue slightly before 10:00 p.m. on July 4th, making an attempt to pull into a liquor store parking lot on the 1200 block of Pryor Road. 

What happened next resulted in a young girl being shot and killed. 

A group of armed men seemingly associated with the barricading of the general area where Brooks had a fatal encounter with police three weeks earlier had approached the vehicle – with two men firing into the Jeep. 

Despite the driver fleeing from the gunfire and heading straight to Atlanta Medical Center, young Secoriea did not survive the sustained gunshots. 

Police were able to eventually hone in on one of the armed suspects while investigating the case, but one other person of interest has yet to be located. Months after identifying said second person of interest, investigators have no new leads on his whereabouts or identity. 

Secoriea’s mother said that Christmas is never going to be the same without her little girl. Just last month, those who knew and loved Secoriea engaged in a celebration of her life on what would’ve been her 9th birthday

On December 18th, the young girl’s mother in concurrence with GRIEVES – a homicide support group for survivors of lost loved ones – continued urge anyone to come forward with information on the second suspect. 

As for the current suspect in custody, 19-year-old Julian Conley, he’s currently being held at the Fulton County jail under charges of aggravated assault and murder.

The family of Secoriea Turner is also in the midst of a lawsuit against the city of Atlanta regarding the child’s murder, specifically for not swifter taking action against the unlawful barricading and intimidation tactics where the child was slain. 

Prior to any arrests having been made in the case, both of Secoriea’s parents spoke out about their child’s murder.

And the words spoken by the parents back in July were hard-hitting, not only because of the tragedy they suffered, but because the sound of their voices when they spoke out about their child’s murder. 

Here’s out previous report from July 8th, days after this young girl was murdered. 

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ATLANTA, GA – Authorities in Atlanta have recently released images and video surveillance of a person of interest with regard to the investigation of the death of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner, who was killed on July 4th.

The murder of young Turner has served as an eye-opening tragedy with regard to the fallout of Rayshard Brooks’ death, as the young girl was reportedly killed in a shooting that happened not far from the infamous Wendy’s on University Avenue that was the site of riots and arson weeks earlier.

Images of the person of interest in the case show a black male in a white shirt, carrying what police identified to be an AR-15 styled rifle.

According to Lt. Pete Malecki of the Atlanta Police Department, investigators believe there to be numerous suspects involved in the case:

“We believe there is going to be a minimum of three additional suspects. That number could change. Although we have a lot of work to identify the remaining individuals responsible, this is the first step in that process.”

Police say that the shooting of Turner happened just across the street from the torched restaurant at around 9:45 p.m. on July 4th. Young Turner was said to have been riding in a car with her mother and one of her mother’s friends when they exited the interstate and turned onto University Avenue.

The driver of the vehicle attempted to turn into a parking lot on Pryor Road, when a group of armed individuals reportedly confronted the driver and blocked them from proceeding into the parking lot. According to a statement by police, someone from the group then opened fire on the vehicle which resulted in bullets striking young Turner.

While the girl was rushed over to Atlanta Medical Center, Turner later passed away at the hospital from her injuries.

Charmaine Turner, the mother of Secoriea, recently spoke out at a news conference about her losing her daughter to this senseless violence:

“Help me…help my baby. She was only 8 years old. What is it – 30 minutes after 6:00? She would have been on Tik Tok dancing on her phone, just got finished eating. We understand the frustration of Rayshard Brooks – we understand.

“We ain’t got nothing to do with that. We’re innocent. We didn’t mean no harm. My baby didn’t mean no harm. Somebody knows something.”

Secoriea’s father, Secoriya Williamson, also commented on what can perceived to be his noting of hypocrisy within the Black Lives Matter movement:

“They say black lives matter. You killed your own…you killed your own this time. Killed because of a barrier? They killed my baby because she crossed the barrier – and made a U-turn? You killed a child. She didn’t do nothing to nobody.”

A reward has been announced for information that can lead police to an arrest in this case. While the reward was $10, 000 when originally announced, police have increased that reward to $20,000 for information that can lead to an arrest and prosecution.

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