A white former Georgia police officer has been acquitted of voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter after shooting an unarmed Black man eight times as he ran away from the officer.
A jury did, however, find Zechariah Presley guilty of violation of oath of office in the death of 33-year-old Tony Green June 20, 2018, according to The Associated Press.
While Presley was seen crying as the verdict was read, Green’s father, Wayne Anderson told First Coast News he was disappointed.
“My son was murdered and the man that murdered my son gets to go home to his sons, and can only possibly serve one to five [years] for murder,” Anderson said. “This oughta serve notice to a lot of our young black men — and black men, period — that you can run up and down the football field, you can run up and down the courts.
“You can hit baseballs, but at the end of the day when they see you, they see a black man.”
Bodycam video of the deadly encounter was played Sept. 24 in a Camden County courtroom near the Georgia-Florida border, according to media outlets covering the case.
News 4 reported that Presley can be heard in the video telling another officer: “I got tased by my own Taser and I had him behind his neck and he rolled me over he was on top of me and I started reaching for my gun then he took off, and that’s when I fired.”
Presley said he feared Green was armed, but investigators determined he only held a cellphone, News 4 reported.
Presley contended in court that he was defending himself, and he requested immunity from prosecution, which a judge later denied.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed in news releases posted online immediately following the incident that Green was running away when Presley shot him.
The officer turned himself in to the Camden County Sheriff’s Office June 27, 2018, according to the agency.
He was arrested on one count of voluntary manslaughter and one count of violation of oath of office after a vehicle stop led to a chase Presley was involved in, according to the GBI.
“We’re demanding a maximum sentence on the one charge he was found guilty of, for five years in prison, a retrial right away and the community must take action,” Malik Shabazz, the civil attorney working with Tony Green’s children, told First Coast News. It’s not clear what Shabazz meant in asking for a retrial, as verdicts of not guilty cannot be overturned.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Oct. 18, the news outlet reported.