DECATUR, Ga. — After six days of deliberation, jurors Oct. 14 found former DeKalb County cop Robert Olsen guilty of aggravated assault and other lesser charges in the 2015 killing of Anthony Hill. The 27-year-old African American veteran of the Afghanistan War, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, had been wandering naked and unarmed around his apartment complex.
The jury acquitted the cop on two counts of felony murder. Sentencing was set for Nov. 1 and Olsen could face up to 35 years in prison.
Even though he was convicted, Olsen wasn’t taken to jail. He is required to wear an ankle monitor until his sentencing. Opponents of police brutality say they plan to be there Nov. 1.
Hill had received a medical discharge from the Air Force after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Olsen had been dispatched to Hill’s apartment complex after the police got calls saying Hill was wandering around there naked. Olsen’s lawyers claimed the cop feared for his safety when Hill approached him. Olsen then fired two shots killing Hill. Olsen, who is Caucasian, is 40 pounds heavier and 5 inches taller than Hill was.
Olsen resigned from the police department after his indictment in 2016. This was the first time in more than five years that a Georgia cop was prosecuted for a fatal shooting. Protests by Hill’s family and opponents of police brutality forced murder charges to be filed.
At the trial, Hill’s mother, father, sister, two uncles and an aunt welcomed the solidarity of supporters who came to join them. These included members of the NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, as well as Alyson Kennedy, Socialist Workers Party candidate for president in 2016, and Malcolm Jarrett, SWP candidate for Pittsburgh City Council, who were on tour in Georgia.