An Atlanta-area prosecutor said Thursday he plans to ask for an indictment of a police officer who fatally shot an unarmed naked man last year.
DeKalb District Attorney Robert James said he would ask a grand jury to indict Officer Robert Olsen of the DeKalb County Police Department, accused of shooting Anthony Hill on March 9 while responding to a call of a man behaving erratically outside a suburban Atlanta apartment complex.
Authorities said Hill lunged at Officer Olsen in a threatening manner.
The family of the 27-year-old Hill says he was a U.S. Air Force veteran who struggled with mental health problems.
The DeKalb County Police Department said it was not able to comment on an ongoing investigation. A phone number for Olsen could not immediately be found, and it wasn't immediately clear whether he had a lawyer who could comment on the charges.
Mr. James said that he plans to present a six-count indictment to a grand jury on Jan. 21. Those include an aggravated assault charge, two counts of violation of oath of office and one count for making a false statement.
“There will be more evidence submitted this time around,” said James, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “I’m no longer neutral. I’ve become an advocate.”
Tensions between police and minorities have risen across the country in the aftermath of a series of officer-involved shootings mostly involving white law enforcement officers and unarmed African-American males. Incidents in Missouri, New York and elsewhere have set off a national debate and repeated protests about police conduct.
In Cleveland, on Dec. 28 a grand jury declined to indict Loehmann or his partner Frank Garmback, Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann, who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in November 2014 less than two seconds after arriving at the scene. Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty said the shooting was "a perfect storm of human error, mistakes and miscommunications ... that did not indicate criminal conduct by police."
In Georgia, Mr. James' office presents every case involving shootings by officers to a grand jury for civil review, and the grand jurors recommend whether a case should be considered for criminal prosecution. Ultimately, the district attorney decides whether to seek indictment.
Grand jurors in October heard evidence in the case but said inconsistencies and contradictions prevented them from being able to recommend whether or not the district attorney should pursue indictment. The grand jurors recommended further investigation.
James said at the time that he had "serious concerns" about the case.
Hill's family in November filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the DeKalb County Police Department, Olsen, the county and its board of commissioners.
Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com