Georgia grand jury says killing of man by police needs more investigation

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 29, 2015 7:19 PM

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A Georgia grand jury on Thursday recommended further investigation into the shooting death of an unarmed, naked black man by a white police officer at a suburban Atlanta apartment complex in March.

The civil grand jury, citing "contradictions and inconsistencies" in the testimony it heard from witnesses, could not agree on whether the local district attorney should take the case to a criminal grand jury for a possible indictment of the officer, according to court documents.

It did recommend the prosecutor conduct follow-up interviews with the officer and a second policeman who arrived on the scene after the shooting.

The death of Anthony Hill, 27, came as a spate of killings in the United States have raised questions about excessive use of force by police, particularly against black men.

No charges have been brought so far against the officer, Robert Olsen of the DeKalb County police department, who has been on administrative leave since the incident.

Hill was a U.S. Air Force veteran who suffered from bipolar disorder, according to his relatives. He was shot on March 9 after police found him crawling naked, knocking on apartment doors and "acting deranged," DeKalb County police said.

DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said Thursday his office will continue to investigate the case before deciding whether to pursue criminal charges.

Olsen testified before the grand jury for about an hour last week, saying he felt threatened by Hill, according to Christopher Chestnut, attorney for Hill's family.

Olsen cited cases of police shootings involving nude suspects who were on drugs and attacked police, the attorney said.

Hill was not on drugs, nor threatening, Chestnut said, adding that Olsen could have used an electric stun gun to subdue Hill.

(Editing by David Adams and Cynthia Osterman)