File: Officer who shot man had no serious discipline issues

AP News
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Posted: Mar 19, 2015 12:42 PM

ATLANTA (AP) — An Atlanta-area police officer who fatally shot an unarmed naked man last week was well regarded by his superiors and had no significant disciplinary problems prior to the shooting, according to personnel records obtained by The Associated Press.

The documents, obtained through an open-records request, detail Officer Robert Olsen's seven-year career with the DeKalb County Police Department. Olsen shot 27-year-old Anthony Hill on March 9 while responding to a call reporting a suspicious person knocking on doors and crawling on the ground naked at an apartment complex.

Olsen has been placed on paid leave — a standard procedure — while the Georgia Bureau of Investigation looks into the shooting.

In annual evaluations filed each year from 2008 to 2014, Olsen's supervisors consistently gave him an overall rating of "exceeds standards." His supervisors often commend him in evaluations for his productivity, willingness to take on extra responsibilities and for being a team player. He's received numerous commendations during his time with the department, typically for his role in catching suspects in robbery or burglary cases.

Olsen's file has dozens of certificates of completion of training courses. Records from the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council show that he has completed hundreds of hours of training over his career. One of those hours — in 2011 — was for mental illness training.

Hill was being treated for bipolar disorder but had stopped taking his medication a week or two before he was killed, according to Bridget Anderson, who said she had been dating Hill for three years before his death.

Before Hill's shooting, DeKalb County police Chief Cedric Alexander was already reevaluating the department's training for dealing with people suffering from mental health issues, spokeswoman Mekka Parish said. All officers will be required to complete 40 hours of mental health training, Parish said.

Olsen's personnel records show that the most significant disciplinary action taken against him was "written counseling" issued for using profanity during a December 2009 traffic stop.

A woman complained that Olsen pulled her over at 1 a.m. Dec. 2, 2009, and began shouting at her over the public address system in his vehicle. She was nervous and called 911, asking that an officer be sent. When Olsen approached, she told him she was on the phone with a 911 operator and he responded by saying, "I am the (expletive) police," according to department records.

Olsen's supervisors noted that this was not typical behavior and it was his first violation of the department code of conduct.

A supervisor also recommended "verbal counseling" for Olsen after an April 2012 complaint stemming from a traffic stop. A department investigation determined that Olsen issued a valid citation but that his reasons for issuing it were incorrect.

Several other complaints filed against Olsen by members of the public were found to be without merit.

A "use of force" report in Olsen's file shows that a department investigation determined Olsen's actions were within department policy when a suspect who was resisting a pat-down and then resisted arrest suffered cuts on his face when he fell as Olsen tried to take him into custody in November 2013.