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Decatur, GA – Instead of reaching for his pepper spray, his Taser, or a baton, a DeKalb County police officer drew his gun and killed an unarmed and naked veteran suffering from bipolar and post-traumatic stress disorders. Charged with felony murder and several other charges in 2016, the officer claimed the unarmed veteran was aggressively charging towards him even though witnesses disputed his “official” version of events. After a years-long battle, the case has finally come to a close and the officer who killed Anthony Hill was found guilty on several charges but found not guilty on the two counts of felony murder.
After deliberating for six days, the jury found the former officer Robert Olsen not guilty of felony murder. However, they did find him guilty of aggravated assault, two counts of violation of oath, and making a false statement. He now faces the possibility of 35 years behind bars. After the verdict was read aloud, Olsen’s wife left the courtroom in tears. At least she can visit him in jail, Hill’s family cannot do the same.
The prosecution asked for Olsen to be placed into custody and sentenced immediately. However, the judge in the case allowed Olsen to remain out on bond until he is sentenced on Nov. 1. Until he is sentenced in two weeks, Olsen will have to wear an ankle monitor and will have to abide by a curfew.
Last year, lawyers for Olsen had argued he had the right to act in self-defense and that the charges against him should be dropped. However, that did not fly.
As FOX 5 reports, DeKalb County Superior Court Judge J.P. Boulee wrote in an order that Olsen didn’t show he had reason to believe deadly force was needed to prevent death or serious injury to himself or someone else. The judge cited concerns about Olsen’s credibility and conflicting testimony.
“Any belief by Defendant that Hill was about to kill him and that deadly force was necessary to prevent the killing was not reasonable,” the judge wrote.
During the trial, Lance Cross, an assistant district attorney, grabbed a baton and extended it in front of the jury.
“This is a weapon. He could’ve used this. We wouldn’t be here,” he said.
Naturally, the defense claimed otherwise, saying Olsen was “a good cop who had to make a tough decision.”
“Chip Olsen is not a murderer and is not guilty of any count in this indictment,” defense attorney Amanda Clark Palmer said. But she was wrong.
As TFTP reported at the time, on March 9, 2015, residents called 911 to report a naked man crawling on the ground and acting deranged in the parking lot of their apartment complex.
As an Air Force veteran who had been deployed to Afghanistan, Anthony Hill had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and PTSD after returning from combat in 2012. Experiencing side effects from his medication, including a locked jaw and swollen tongue, Hill had stopped taking his prescription drugs ten days before his death while waiting for a follow-up appointment at the V.A. to switch his medications.
Responding to the scene, DeKalb County Police Officer Robert Olsen shot Hill to death because he claimed the unarmed veteran was charging towards him. Although he was reportedly armed with a Taser and pepper spray, Olsen immediately drew his firearm and gunned down Hill. This was in spite of witnesses asserting the naked veteran had his hands up when the officer killed him.
According to law enforcement sources who wish to remain unidentified, cops are often trained to treat naked suspects as drug addicts high on PCP or bath salts. Although Olsen received training on how to handle people suffering from mental illness, the officer reportedly described the department as having failed “to train him and the other officers in the Department in identifying and deciphering nonviolent or non-aggressive psychological episodes versus the threat of a potentially violent encounter with a citizen high on PCP.”
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit, Hill’s family accused Olsen of having “a long and extensive history of aggressive conduct” and “propensity toward anger when dealing with members of the public.”
Although over 170 fatal police shootings have been recorded in Georgia since 2010, aside from Olsen, only one officer has been charged with the killing of a civilian. That charge was later dismissed.
Despite the fact that Georgia state law allows police officers to address the panel without any threat of cross-examination or a rebuttal by prosecutors, the grand jury chose to indict Olsen because the details of the case were so horrific. His charges included 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.
Unable to differentiate between aggressive suspects on PCP and nonviolent mentally ill patients off their medication, cops have repeatedly taken the lives of innocent people suffering from mental disorders. Instead of giving them the attention and treatment that they deserve, we as a society have neglected the mentally ill and allowed the government to increasingly close down mental health facilities.
After decades of denying treatment and shelter to veterans and others suffering from extreme psychological disorders, they’ve been thrown onto the streets and into the hands of the trigger-happy cops. And we can no longer act like we aren’t responsible for what inevitably happens next.
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