DECATUR, Ga. — Former DeKalb County cop Robert Olsen was sentenced to 12 years in prison, and eight more on probation, Nov. 1 for the March 2015 killing of Anthony Hill. The 26-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 after going off his medications. He had struggled to get the support he needed from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
A jury had found Olsen guilty of aggravated assault Oct. 14 for firing the two shots that killed Hill, as well as making false statements about the shooting.
Olsen said he acted in self-defense, claiming Hill had attacked him and pounded on his chest. This was proved false by numerous eyewitnesses who testified that Hill never touched Olsen and had never posed a threat to the cop.
Carolyn Baylor Giummo, Hill’s mother, told the packed courtroom about the family’s more than four-year fight to hold Olsen accountable for killing her son. “He has never taken responsibility for taking my son’s life. He never just said, ‘I’m sorry for killing Tony,’” she said.
“The fact that this cop will serve jail time for the murder of Anthony Hill is a victory for Hill’s family and for other victims of police killings,” Socialist Workers Party Atlanta School Board candidate Rachele Fruit told this worker-correspondent. “It is a reflection of the changing attitudes among working people towards police murders and a testament to the fight waged by Hill’s family, friends and other opponents of police brutality.”
At a press conference following the sentencing, Giummo thanked all those who had rallied over the years in support of the fight for the indictment and conviction of Olsen. She added that even though she wanted a longer sentence, some time is better than no time.
Nearly 4,000 people were killed by on-duty cops from 2015 to 2018, according to Washington Post data. Only 50 cops were charged with a crime. And fewer than half of those cases ended with any conviction.