Atlanta, GA – The family of the eight-year-old girl who was shot inside her parents’ car during civil unrest near the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks died has filed a lawsuit against the city and Wendy’s.
Attorneys for the family of Secoriea Turner alleged in their complaint that the city had been negligent when they failed to remove armed protesters who had taken over the area after Brooks’ shooting, WAGA reported.
The family announced in 2020 that they planned to sue the city for $12 million in damages for the death of Secoriea, and another $4 million for property damage and injuries to her parents.
On June 7, attorneys for the family announced the lawsuit had been filed against city of Atlanta, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant, Atlanta City Councilmember Joyce Sheperd, and Wendy’s International, WAGA reported.
The incident occurred just before 10 p.m. on July 4, 2020 near the 1200-block of Pryor Road, WAGA reported.
Police said that the little girl was in the car with her mother and an adult male friend when they got off the freeway onto University Avenue by the Wendy’s where Brooks was killed.
The driver told police he tried to enter the parking lot of a package store but was confronted by a group of armed protesters, WAGA reported.
Authorities said violent protesters had been setting up illegal barricades around the Wendy’s.
At least two men opened fire on the vehicle and Secoriea was fatally shot, WAGA reported.
They headed straight for the hospital with the wounded child in the car and were met by police when they arrived.
Secoriea was rushed into the emergency room for treatment but died at the hospital, WAGA reported.
Authorities said they knew about the barricades about 30 minutes before the little girl was shot and Atlanta police had planned to go deal with them but got swamped by other more pressing 911 calls.
Residents had been complaining about armed activists taking over the area for weeks with illegal roadblocks.
The mayor demanded that protesters clear the area after Secoriea was killed, WAGA reported.
Hours later, violent activists vandalized and burned the Georgia State Police’s headquarters in Atlanta.
Police later arrested 19-year-old Julian Conley for the felony murder of the eight year old, WAGA reported
Afterwards, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency and called out the Georgia National Guard to help protect monuments and government buildings after the bloody July 4th weekend in Atlanta that left more than 31 people shot and five dead.
But attorneys for the dead little girl’s family said it was all too little, too late, WXIA reported.
The lawsuit filed by Secoriea’s family alleged numerous failings by the city, WAGA reported.
The complaint said Atlanta officials allowed the public streets to be commandeered by armed civilians and didn’t have law enforcement stop it.
“The City and Mayor Bottoms were put on notice of the need for their presence in the area,” the lawsuit read. “Actual notice of a hazardous condition gives rise to a ministerial duty on the part of an individual charged with the responsibility to respond to such a condition.”
Attorney Mawuli Davis, an attorney for the little girl’s family, said that authorities were negligent about maintaining the peace and that the blockade prevented Secoriea’s family from safely leaving the area, WAGA reported.
The lawsuit also blamed Wendy’s and said the company had essentially abandoned the property after Brooks’ was shot, with no regard to its responsibility to security public safety.
“It’s in part of their abandonment of their legal responsibilities that we are here today,” attorney Shean Williams said.
The attorneys said the city should expect numerous additional lawsuits to be filed against it this summer as they continue to try to hold Atlanta officials accountable, WAGA reported.