Officer Robert Olsen Indicted, Arrested for Murder of Anthony Hill
(APN) DECATUR — On Thursday, January 21, 2016, after eight hours of hearing evidence, a criminal grand jury indicted DeKalb County police officer Robert Olsen on six counts for the murder of Anthony Hill.
The charges include two counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, one count of making a false statement, and two counts of violation of oath by a public officer.
“My job is to match what I believe to be facts to existing law,” DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said in a press conference. “That’s what I do in every case and that’s what I did in this case.”
Hill, 26, a Air Force veteran and musician, was suffering a mental health crisis when DeKalb Police Department (DPD) Officer Robert Olsen fatally shot him last March 2015. He was completely naked and unarmed.
“The jury saw what we already saw,” Carolyn Baylor-Giummo, Hill’s mother, told reporters after the DA’s press conference.
“I thank God that they saw the truth,” she said.
Christopher Chestnut, an attorney representing Hill’s family, acknowledged the importance of the indictment in disrupting a national pattern of police shootings of unarmed Black people, where police seem most often to get away unscathed.
“I think this will set history… Hopefully this will set a precedent for discouraging paramilitary policing,” he said.
In the press conference, James specified the murder charges against Olsen do not allege that malice was involved.
Felony murder is a charge that can be added to another felony charge if that felony caused someone to die.
“What’s been alleged, that while in the commission of a felony, the officer in this case did cause the death of Anthony Hill,” James explained.
The felonies that predicate the murder charges are aggravated assault and violation of oath of office. The latter, James said, is based on Olsen violating the DeKalb County use of force policy.
A crowd outside of the courthouse cheered and chanted when news of the indictment came down. The group Rise Up Georgia has pushed for an indictment for months.
Members of the group camped on the courthouse lawn in freezing temperatures for days leading up to the grand jury.
The crowd waited all day as the grand jury deliberated. In between songs, speeches, and chants, Rise Up organizer Dawn O’Neil read some of the last words that Anthony Hill wrote on his Facebook page before he was killed.
“Each of us impacts the collective soul of the world, for better or worse,” Hill wrote.
An arrest warrant for Olsen was issued shortly after the grand jury returned the indictment. Early this morning, on Friday, January 22, 2015, Olsen turned himself in. He was released on a bond of 110,200 dollars, according to CBS 46 television news.