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Georgia Ex-Cop Found Not Guilty of Murder in Shooting Death of Naked Black Veteran

A white former Georgia cop was found not guilty Monday of two murder counts in the shooting death of Black Afghanistan War veteran Anthony Hill.

Robert Olsen was, however, found guilty of two counts of violation of oath of office, one count each of aggravated assault and making a false statement, according to several media outlets.

Olsen and Hill headshots
Ex-Georgia police officer Robert Olsen (left) was found not guilty of murdering Anthony Hill, who was naked and unarmed at the time of his shooting death. (Photos: DeKalb Police, Facebook)

Olsen shot Hill, who was naked, unarmed and suffering a mental illness at the time, March 9, 2015 in DeKalb County.

The mother of the 26-year-old veteran wiped away tears after the verdict and declined to comment immediately, CBS 46 reported.

Two jurors also cried as their verdicts were announced for Olsen, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“He now faces a possible sentence of 1 to 30 years in prison,” attorney Gerald Griggs said on Twitter Monday.

Griggs, whose been an outspoken advocate for Hill, said sentencing is set for Nov. 1 and he was taken into custody on a $80,000 bond.

In a vehement but unsuccessful plea for Olsen’s bond to be denied, prosecutor Pete Johnson argued Olsen is a “flight risk.”

Hill was “doing absolutely nothing wrong on that day, was committing no crime,” Johnson said.

“This defendant must be held accountable, and his accountability begins today, the day this jury found him jury,” Johnson said. “And so respectfully your honor we would request that you deny any bond and that you put handcuffs on this convicted felon and take him into custody because that’s where he belongs.”

Judge LaTisha Dear Jackson, a Black woman, asked in response:

“You want me to put the handcuffs on him?”

“I want you to order the deputies to,” Johnson said. “That was a metaphor.”

Dear Jackson ultimately sided with the defense, who argued Olsen was not convicted of murder, so he should be allowed to stay free.

“I am going to stand by my decision,” Dear Jackson said. “I am not saying that Anthony Hill’s death is in vain.

“I am not saying that Anthony Hill’s death did not occur, but he was not found guilty of that,” the judge added.

Olsen shot Hill while responding to a domestic disturbance call at an apartment complex in DeKalb County, a suburb of Atlanta, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Related: ‘We See No Possibility in Reconciling’: Jury Asks to Keep Deliberating in Murder Trial of Ex-Cop Who Shot Down Naked Black Veteran

Upon arrival, the former officer found Hill roaming naked around the community and exhibiting “odd” behavior. Hill’s family asserted that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was likely having a manic episode at the time.

While officers tried to subdue him, Olsen claimed Hill lunged toward him, prompting him to shoot the Air Force veteran.

The jury, composed of seven women and five men, started deliberations in the case Friday, Oct. 4, and they continued for about 27 hours over six days, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The jury gave an early indication of the verdict last Monday when it asked if it could find Olsen guilty of violation of oath of office but not felony murder, according to 11 Alive.

The judge replied that jurors could.

When they did a week later, a deputy walked Olsen out of the courtroom without handcuffs, WSB Radio reporter Veronica Waters tweeted.

Several activist organizations and social media users took to Twitter to protest the verdict.

The Legal Equalizer, an app that uses location services to help users report police stops, shared its opposition to the verdict Monday on Instagram.

“Anthony Hill went on two tours of duty just to come back and home and get murdered for having a mental breakdown,” a representative of the company said in the post. “He was murdered about 2 miles from where I was working at the time.”

The user went on to say that the verdict was an infuriating reminder “that we can not rely on this justice system to actually get justice.” 

“I am at a loss for words as to how you can shoot a completely naked man and kill him and yet somehow that is not murder,” the company official said. “We send our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Anthony Hill.”

The advocacy organization Us Protecting Us tweeted Monday that a rally was planned for 7 p.m. at the DeKalb County Courthouse.

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