A Georgia grand jury indicted a white police officer Thursday for shooting and killing an unarmed black man, Anthony Hill, outside of a suburban Atlanta apartment complex last March. Officer Robert Olsen was indicted on six counts, including two felony murder counts, after prosecutors presented eight hours of evidence; a judge issued a warrant for his arrest Thursday.
On March 9, the DeKalb County Police were called to an apartment complex because Hill, a 27-year-old Air Force veteran, was outside naked and acting erratically. Hill’s family says the veteran suffers from mental illness. Here’s more on what transpired when Officer Olsen showed up at the scene (via the New York Times):
According to court filings and witnesses, Officer Olsen was sent to Mr. Hill’s apartment complex in Chamblee, northeast of Atlanta, while the man was in the midst of what his family described in a lawsuit as “a nonviolent mental episode.” He had, for instance, repeatedly jumped from the balcony of his second-floor apartment, and his speech was unintelligible. After the arrival of Officer Olsen, who had a Taser device and had received training about how to deal with people suffering from mental illness, witnesses said that Mr. Hill did not comply with the officer’s directions to stop his advance. Mr. Hill’s hands, they said, were raised or at his sides before Officer Olsen opened fire. Mr. Hill, his family said in a court document last year, “was unarmed, unclothed and displaying no signs of aggression at the time of the shooting, and he presented no threat to Officer Olsen or anyone else.”
“Olsen’s attorney, Don Samuel, said they are disappointed in the grand jury’s decision, but he noted that the defense was not allowed to present any of its witnesses, experts or evidence and was not allowed to challenge any of the prosecution’s evidence,” according to the Associated Press. “Georgia law allows police officers to be present during grand jury proceedings when they are being accused of committing criminal acts in the course of their official duties and to make a statement at the end of the proceedings that the prosecution cannot question or challenge. Samuel said Olsen spoke before the grand jury for about 20 minutes.”