DEKALB COUNTY, GEORGIA — A Georgia prosecutor said on Thursday that he will seek charges against a police officer who fatally shot an unarmed, naked Air Force veteran last spring.
The incident is one of several fatal shootings of unarmed black men by police officers that gained national attention last year and inspired protests.
Officer Robert Olsen responded to a 911 call on March 9, 2015 about a naked, black man behaving strangely at an apartment complex near Atlanta. Neighbors told police the man was crawling around naked, knocking on doors and "acting deranged", Reuters reported at the time.
When Olsen arrived at the apartment building, he found Anthony Hill, 27, on his hands and knees in the parking lot. Ignoring Olsen's warning to stand back, Hill charged at Olsen with his hands up. An attorney for Hill's family told the Washington Post that witnesses said Hill never got within three to five feet of Olsen when the officer pulled out a gun. Olsen fired two shots into Hill's chest, killing him.
Olsen, a seven-year veteran of the police force, had a Taser on him at the time of the shooting.
Hill was an Afghanistan War veteran suffering from various mental health issues, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by his family against Olsen. The family say in the lawsuit that the case shows police officers need more specialized training to deal with mentally ill people.
Prosecutors in DeKalb County, Georgia will now recommend that a criminal grand jury indict Olsen.
A grand jury will begin hearing evidence for the case on Jan. 21, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
It won't be easy for prosecutors to obtain an indictment though, and the numbers are against them. Only once in five years has a jury indicted a law enforcement officer in Georgia and that indictment was dismissed the very next day, according to the Journal-Constitution.