Family of 8-Year-Old Shot During Rayshard Brooks Protests Sues Atlanta for Failing to Stop 'Vigilantes'

The family of an 8-year-old girl who was killed last year during protests in Atlanta recently filed a lawsuit against the city.

Secoriea Turner was shot in the parking lot of a Wendy's restaurant in Atlanta last July while protests for the police killing of Rayshard Brooks were going on throughout the city. Shots were fired at the car Turner was riding in, fatally hitting her. Brooks was shot and killed by Atlanta police in the same Wendy's parking lot a month before in June 2020.

The lawsuit filed with the Fulton County State Court names Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Police Chief Rodney Bryant, City Councilmember Joyce Sheperd and Wendy's International.

The Turner family filed the suit claiming that the city and its leaders "were negligent in their duties by failing to remove armed vigilantes who had gathered alongside peaceful protesters at the Wendy's where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed," according to the complaint.

Protestors rally for Rayshard Brooks
Protestors rallying together on January 18, 2021, in Atlanta, Georgia at the Wendys where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed. Secoriea Turner was killed in the parking lot by vigilantes following protests for Brooks in July 2020. Megan Varner/Getty Images

"The murder of Secoriea Turner, as a result of senseless gun violence, is a tragedy that no family should have to endure. Due to the anticipated litigation, the City will offer no further comment, at this time," a spokesperson for the mayor's office told Newsweek.

In October 2020, Mawuli Davis, a lawyer representing the Turner family, announced that they were considering taking legal action against the city of Atlanta and community leaders. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Davis gave the city 30 days to engage in negotiations for a settlement with the family. The notice also came with the threat of a $16 million lawsuit.

"They knew there were armed vigilantes blockading a public street, and they took no action," Davis said.

At a news conference following Turner's death in July 2020, Bottoms called for justice for the young girl. Bottoms called for the violence to stop and banned protestors from gathering at the now-demolished Wendy's, according to The Post Millennial.

"Now we are demanding action for Secoriea Turner, and all other people who were shot in Atlanta last night," Bottoms said. "Enough is enough. If you want people to take us seriously and you don't want us to lose this movement, we can't lose each other."

Police said at the time of the shooting there were up to four gunmen, but only one person was arrested. Julian Conley, 19, was charged with murder and felony assault in connection with the shooting, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Conley admits to witnessing the shooting but denies that he fired the shots.

The city of Atlanta does not have liability insurance, and a successful lawsuit would take money from the city's budget. Turner's team is aware of this, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.

Update: 06/07/2021 - 3:45 p.m. - This story was updated to include a comment from the Atlanta mayoral office