As police look into the death of an unarmed Air Force veteran killed by a police officer, activists are speaking out about police tactics in Atlanta.
The shooting happened Monday afternoon in a Dekalb County apartment complex, reports the New York Times. Anthony Hill, 27, who allegedly suffered from bipolar disorder, was having an episode and was spotted partially naked outside his home. Community members tried to calm Hill down, but after fleeing from neighbors, Hill started to speak erratically and continuously jump off his second floor terrace. After Officer Robert Olsen arrived on the scene, Hill was fatally shot twice in the torso.
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) March 10, 2015
Witnesses told reporters Hill’s hands were at his sides when Olsen arrived. Others claim his hands were up while approaching the cop.
Another resident, a woman who did not want her name published because she is an undocumented immigrant, said Mr. Hill had his hands at his sides and raised them parallel to the ground as he drew nearer to the officer. She, too, said the men did not fight before Mr. Hill was shot.
A third witness, Xochi Macedonia, 27, said she had seen Mr. Hill running toward the police officer from more than 20 yards away. But Ms. Macedonia said she could not see what happened when Mr. Hill got close.
As officers try to gather details about the shooting, seven-year veteran Olsen has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Family and friends honored Hill, calling him a friendly neighbor.
“He was a calm, friendly person,” said Julio Hernandez, 54, a groundskeeper at the complex whose 14-year-old son rode skateboards with Mr. Hill. “To me, this was police abuse, because what can a naked person do?”
His girlfriend tweeted out her frustrations:
I thought cops were suppose to protect and serve???? THEY TOOK THE LOVE OF MY LIFE AWAY!!!!! #antlanta
— #Antlanta (@bridgie_xoxo) March 10, 2015
During a police conference on Monday, Capt. Steve Fore of the DeKalb County police said that all officers are trained to deal with mentally ill suspects. Cedric L. Alexander, the DeKalb County deputy chief, noted that Olsen was carrying a taser. Many witnesses claim the officer didn’t use a taser and heard three loud gunshots shortly after he arrived on the scene.
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