#KeepImaniFree: Protect Black Women Domestic Violence Survivors!

District Attorney Alisha Johnson

Banner that reads #KeepImaniFree with photos of Imani hugging her mother and her children after being released.
Essie Justice Group

Essie Justice Group, The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, Barred Business, Metro Atlanta Participatory Defense Hub, and Free Atlanta Abolition Movement, are calling on District Attorney Alisha Johnson to refrain from pursuing indictment of Imani "Terri" Turner given her commitment to domestic violence survivors.


We are celebrating the release of Imani “Terri” Turner, Black mother of five and Essie Justice Group member, who was arrested in Georgia and faced murder charges after surviving domestic violence. On Wednesday, April 5, 2023, Imani had a preliminary hearing in Conyers, Georgia, with Chief Magistrate Judge Phinea Aten, who determined that the prosecution had no probable cause to pursue the case against Imani, who acted in self-defense.

In the face of overwhelming evidence that Imani acted in self-defense, the prosecution argued that a lack of bruising was inconsistent with Imani’s allegations of abuse. Significantly, and in response to the prosecution’s argument, Judge Aten ruled in favor of Imani, citing recent news coverage of a study by the National Institute of Justice that uplifts the grim reality that Black women like Imani are far too often discredited when alleging abuse because of how bruising patterns differ across skin tones.

Despite this important win, Imani is still fighting for her continued freedom. Until DA Johnson makes the commitment not to push for a grand jury indictment, Imani and her family continue to experience the uncertainty of what might happen next.

“This ruling was a victory for and by Black women,” said Gina Clayton-Johnson, Founder & Executive Director of Essie Justice Group. “Wins like this move the needle towards true safety and protection for Black women survivors. Given the immense trauma Imani has faced, she and her family deserve to begin their healing journey and be free of any looming criminal prosecution.”

Upon release, Imani was surrounded by the communities that she has invested in for years. Welcomed into the warm embrace of her mother, five young children, and community members, Imani was also met with an outpouring of love, care, and Sisterhood from over 25 rejoicing Essie members who showed up to “pack the court” in support of Imani.

“Yesterday was about being there for our Sister,” Q, Essie Justice Group member and Care Team Lead shared. “In team building courses they have a game, the trust fall, where you have three people stand behind someone on a chair, and you just release and fall back and you trust they’re going to catch you. And yesterday that really happened – Imani stood with her arms out and we [Essie Justice Group members] caught her.”

Essie’s membership of women with incarcerated loved ones, in protection of Black women survivors and with unique wisdom and expertise on what it means to care for an incarcerated loved ones, did what they have always done – showed up for Sisterhood, providing deeply intentional love, resources, and a variety of support to Imani, her mother, and her children.

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To: District Attorney Alisha Johnson
From: [Your Name]

District Attorney Alisha Johnson, stand with us and protect Black women domestic violence survivors by making a commitment to not pursue grand jury indictment of Imani "Terri" Turner and Keep Imani Free!