Jimmy Atchison case: Ex-Atlanta police officer booked, released on $50K bond

Sung Kim has been charged with murder
Former Atlanta police Officer Sung Kim retired from the department months after the Jan. 22, 2019, fatal shooting of Jimmy Atchison.

Former Atlanta police Officer Sung Kim retired from the department months after the Jan. 22, 2019, fatal shooting of Jimmy Atchison.

A former Atlanta police officer charged with murder in the fatal task force shooting of Jimmy Atchison surrendered last week and was released the same day on $50,000 bond, jail records show.

Sung Kim was given seven days to report to the Fulton County Jail, according to a bond order issued Dec. 19 by Superior Court Judge Rachelle Carnesale. He surrendered Dec. 22.

Kim, a 26-year veteran of the police department, shot Atchison Jan. 22, 2019, while working on an FBI fugitive task force. Atchison, a 21-year-old father of two, was wanted for allegedly stealing a woman’s cellphone at gunpoint, but an investigation found he did not have a weapon on him when he was killed.

Kim retired from the department months after the deadly shooting. He was indicted late Friday on charges of felony murder, aggravated assault, involuntary manslaughter and two counts of violating his oath of office, court records show.

After reporting to jail, Kim was expected to be “immediately released from custody” and is not required to appear before a judge, the bond order says.

His attorney declined to comment last week.

A GBI investigation determined Atchison was given two conflicting commands as he hid from authorities inside a friend’s broom closet at a northwest Atlanta apartment complex. One task force member told him to come out with his hands up. Another member told him not to move, according to family attorney Tanya Miller.

Attorney Tanya Miller, center, speaks during a press conference Monday in Atlanta regarding the most recent development in the case of Jimmy Atchison, who was shot by an Atlanta police officer in 2019. CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: Christina Matacotta

icon to expand image

Credit: Christina Matacotta

Kim, who was not wearing a body camera, is accused of shooting him once in the face as he stepped out of the closet. The officer later told investigators he believed Atchison was holding a weapon, though no one had seen him with a gun that day.

Kim and several other officers who were part of the FBI task force had chased Atchison through the complex just before the shooting, according to a report from the Fulton district attorney’s public integrity unit.

At the time, the FBI did not sanction the use of body cameras, despite APD’s policy requiring all of its officers to wear them. The FBI has since changed its policy, allowing federally deputized officers to activate their body cameras while serving warrants, executing searches or making arrests.

Atchison’s father, Jimmy Hill, pushed for years for criminal charges to be brought in his son’s death. Over the past four years, he called repeatedly for the DA’s office to present the case to a grand jury and regularly held rallies outside the courthouse calling for Kim’s indictment.

“It’s been a long, hard road,” Atchison’s aunt, Tammy Featherstone, said Monday. “Now it’s time for us to stand together and make sure that (the officer) is held accountable. Not just indicted, but serves time for the murder of Jimmy Atchison.”

In a federal wrongful death lawsuit filed in October 2020, family attorneys argued there was no reason for a federal fugitive task force to have been involved in the first place. Citing an FBI internal investigation that determined Atchison was not an interstate flight risk, the suit alleged Kim “manufactured” a basis for obtaining a federal warrant by misrepresenting to a federal judge that Atchison would likely flee the state.