Georgia officer indicted in fatal shooting of unarmed Air Force veteran

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By Ralph Ellis and Ashley Fantz

CNN

(CNN) — A Georgia police officer was indicted Thursday on murder charges in the fatal shooting of Anthony Hill, a U.S. Air Force veteran who was naked and apparently unarmed when he was killed.

DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James announced the grand jury indicted DeKalb County police Officer James Olsen on two counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, one count of making a false statement, and two counts of violation of oath by a public officer.

James said Olsen will be the first Georgia law enforcement officer in five years prosecuted for fatally shooting a civilian while on duty.

Anthony Hill, 27, an Afghanistan war veteran, was killed March 9. Hill’s family has said he had a mental illness.

On the day of the shooting, someone in Hill’s neighborhood called police to say there was a man “acting deranged, knocking on doors, and crawling around on the ground naked,” DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander told reporters shortly after the shooting.

Olsen, a seven-year veteran of the department, was dispatched.

“When the male saw the officer, he charged, running at the officer. The officer called him to stop while stepping backwards, drew his weapon, and fired two shots,” Alexander said.

The chief then said it appeared Hill was unarmed.

Hill’s killing led to protests in Atlanta that mirrored themes seen nationwide in demonstrations over race, policing and excessive force in recent police killings. Olsen is white. Hill was black.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over and a month after the shooting, in April 2015, GBI gave its findings to the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office.

A civil grand jury then weighed the information, and that grand jury, James said January 7, decided to present the information to a criminal grand jury.

James said Olsen testified during the civil grand jury’s process, but declined to say what Olsen said.

In a statement, James said the violation of oath prosecution stems from Olsen’s failure to observe department rules, including the use of force policy. The false statement count stems from Olsen falsely telling a fellow officer the victim physically assaulted him before the shooting, the statement said.

“My job is to uphold the laws of Georgia and prosecute anyone who violates them,” James said. “This case is no exception. The facts and circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Anthony Hill warranted felony murder charges.”

CNN’s Kate Conerly and Dana Ford contributed to this article.

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