Ga Ex-cop Gets 12 Years In Killing Of Unarmed Bm


Sidestepping the "lynch mob"
Former Georgia Officer Is Sentenced to 20 Years in Killing of Unarmed Black Man

The officer shot a man who was wandering naked outside an apartment complex in suburban Atlanta

Robert Olsen, right, a former officer with the DeKalb County Police Department, at his trial in Decatur, Ga., in September.Credit...Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via Associated Press

By Rick Rojas. | Nov. 1, 2019

DECATUR, Ga. — A photograph of Anthony Hill, smiling in his United States Air Force uniform, loomed above his mother in the courtroom as she described his talent for music, his ambitions and how he had lived the words of his grandfather, which he had tattooed on his chest: “Be sensible.”

Despite her opposition, she said, her son enlisted in the Air Force and served in Afghanistan. Her prayers were answered when he returned home from conflict, but she added that “he didn’t come back unscathed.”

Mr. Hill returned with mental health problems, and was having issues with his medication when he wandered out of his suburban Atlanta apartment one night in March 2015 and approached a police officer in the parking lot. Within moments, Mr. Hill, who was naked, was shot twice and killed by Robert Olsen, who at the time was an officer with the DeKalb County Police Department.

“I had to bury my youngest child, my only son, because he chose to use deadly force,” Mr. Hill’s mother, Carolyn Giummo, tearfully told a judge on Friday, referring to Mr. Olsen. “That’s the reason we’re here.”

Mr. Olsen, who resigned from the department when he was indicted on murder and other charges, was sentenced on Friday to 20 years, with 12 to serve in prison, a punishment that came a few weeks after he was convicted in connection with Mr. Hill’s death.

As she issued the sentence, Judge LaTisha Dear Jackson of DeKalb County Superior Court described the case in deeply personal terms, relaying her own family connections to law enforcement and the scars left by military service. Judge Dear Jackson had considerable latitude in determining Mr. Olsen’s sentence, which could have extended to as long as 30 years in prison.

“I think we can all agree there is nothing I can say or do that will change March 9, 2015,” she told the courtroom, referring to the night of the fatal attack, before turning to Mr. Hill’s family and to Mr. Olsen directly.

“I see you,” Judge Dear Jackson said to Mr. Hill’s parents and sister, praising the fortitude, strength and compassion she said she saw them display during the trial.

“Mr. Olsen,” she continued, “I watched you through the whole trial.”

She had seen his tears and the “quick eye darts” to images that were shown, she said, and she believed he replayed the encounter in his mind.

“And what I can say is,” she added, “many may have thought you were stoic and void of emotion. I think I will take something your sister said, ‘You’re like an egg, with a hard shell and a soft side.’”

Judge Dear Jackson announced the sentence after an emotional hearing that stretched on for more than four hours, offering contrasting portraits of the two men entwined by a fateful encounter and the two families left grappling with its consequences.

Mr. Hill, who was black, was killed by a white police officer during a moment of extraordinarily flared tensions between minority communities and law enforcement. Just months earlier, Michael Brown, a black teenager, was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., touching off a renewed debate over the use of lethal force by the police and invigorating the Black Lives Matter movement.

The jury’s verdict, which came last month after six days of deliberations, underscored the range of resolutions that can come in such cases, with some police officers facing no criminal charges and others convicted of murder. The sentence has been widely watched as a test of the extent of punishment that is meted out in cases that fall somewhere in the middle.

Mr. Olsen, 57, was acquitted by a jury of murder but was found guilty on charges including aggravated assault, violating the oath of his office and making a false statement.

Mr. Olsen responded on March 9, 2015, to 911 calls from neighbors in Mr. Hill’s suburban apartment complex. Residents had reported that Mr. Hill was walking around undressed and acting bizarrely.

Mr. Hill, 26, an Air Force veteran who had bipolar disorder, had been struggling with trauma sustained while serving in conflict, according to his family and friends. Lawyers in court said that Mr. Hill ran toward Mr. Olsen and did not stop after Mr. Olsen shouted for him to do so.

Mr. Olsen was indicted by a grand jury in 2016 on six counts, including two counts of felony murder, after he told another officer that Mr. Hill had “physically assaulted him prior to the shooting” by pounding on Mr. Olsen’s chest, according to the charging documents.

A series of friends and former colleagues testified on Friday that Mr. Olsen, whom they called “Chip,” was trustworthy, always eager to help and a caring father — “by far one of the best dads I’ve ever seen,” said one friend.

Mr. Olsen found law enforcement later in life, after careers in other fields.

“He wanted to do something meaningful,” said his wife, Katherine Olsen. She had her doubts, but she saw his determination, adding, “It’s not something every 45-year-old is cut out to do.”

After shooting and killing Mr. Hill, Mr. Olsen was devastated and became withdrawn, said colleagues and family. Ms. Olsen said she had seen her husband break down twice: just before they married, when he had to euthanize a Dalmatian he had had since the dog was a puppy, and again in 2015, after the shooting.

“I couldn’t find the words to comfort him so he just cried,” she said, reading from pages she held in her shaking hands. He was a good man with upstanding character, she said, adding, “I know this in my heart, as sure as I know the sky is blue.”

Throughout the hearing, Mr. Olsen mostly fixed his gaze ahead, looking as if he were trying to suppress a combustion of emotion. His face reddened and twitched and he wiped tears from his eyes. But he betrayed little emotion as Judge Dear Jackson announced her sentence.

He looked at one point at Mr. Hill’s father, also named Anthony Hill, as he cried when describing how he learned that his son had been killed.

“You’re hurt. You’re mad. You’re upset, and it’s like you don’t know what to think, what to do,” he said. “You feel helpless because you’re his dad and your job is supposed to be to protect him and you feel like you failed because he’s not here.”

Mr. Hill also shared the mix of feelings he had toward Mr. Olsen, and described how Mr. Olsen had never apologized or even looked him in the eyes. He looked toward Judge Dear Jackson and said there was so much more that he could say but that he would not. He was exhausted.

“It’s just time,” he told the judge, his son’s face above his, “time to let it go and move forward.”

Rick Rojas is a national correspondent for The New York Times covering the American South. He has been a staff reporter for The Times since 2014. @RaR


Sidestepping the "lynch mob"
The young man suffered sent to fight for his country, came back damaged and treated like an outcast, only to be killed by a racist cop.

I'm also glad there was no kumbaya moment at the sentencing...this case sets precedent for the South and it's good to see Olsen actually got sentenced.
He would've gotten more time if he had chosen not to go trial; I'm sure he chose trial by jury, hoping he'd get acquitted. I'm OK with 12 years...!


Well-Known Member
“Mr. Olsen,” she continued, “I watched you through the whole trial.”

She had seen his tears and the “quick eye darts” to images that were shown, she said, and she believed he replayed the encounter in his mind.

“And what I can say is,” she added, “many may have thought you were stoic and void of emotion. I think I will take something your sister said, ‘You’re like an egg, with a hard shell and a soft side.’”

These black women judges have been so disappointing lately. What is going on? Why are they looking so hard, and are so determined to see the good in these white killers?

The consensus was that he was stoic and void of emotion the entire trial, but she saw his “quick eye darts”, and read that as him being remorseful... She knows that he’s replaying the events in his mind, and it’s hurting him because he has a soft interior... :huh: Seriously, WTF??!! She’s making judgments based on what she imagines is going on in his mind. This is crazy. When it comes to the legal system, we as black people have no one on our side, not even other black people. He should have gotten every last one of those years.