DECATUR, Ga. (AP) – A former Georgia police officer who was convicted of aggravated assault and other crimes in the fatal shooting of an unarmed, naked man was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison.
Robert “Chip” Olsen was responding to a call of a naked man behaving erratically outside an Atlanta-area apartment complex in March 2015 when he fatally shot 26-year-old Anthony Hill, an Air Force veteran who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and PTSD.
Olsen was convicted of one count of aggravated assault, two counts of violating his oath of office and one count of making a false statement. Jurors acquitted him on two counts of felony murder.
DeKalb County Superior Court Judge LaTisha Dear Jackson sentenced Olsen to a total of 20 years, with 12 years to serve, followed by eight years of probation.
Olsen did not address the court and left the courtroom with deputies after the sentence.
Olsen is white and Hill was black. Against a backdrop of white officers around the country frequently not being charged or convicted after shooting black men, Olsen’s trial overlapped with the trials of two other white police officers who shot unarmed black men.
A jury in Dallas found former officer Amber Guyger guilty of murder in the shooting of Botham Jean. Guyger testified that she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own, which was one floor below, and that she thought he was a burglar in her home. She was convicted Oct. 1 and was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison.
A few days later, on Oct. 5, a southeast Georgia jury found a white former police officer who fatally shot a fleeing, unarmed black man not guilty on charges of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter. Jurors did find Zechariah Presley guilty of violating his oath of office in the 2018 shooting of Tony Green in coastal Camden County, near the Georgia-Florida state line. Presley was sentenced to serve a year in prison.
Two days before Olsen’s jury reached a verdict, another Texas police officer shot and killed a black woman in her Fort Worth home while responding to a call about an open front door. That officer, Aaron Dean, resigned before he could be fired and was charged with murder in the death of 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson.
In the Olsen case , the apartment complex property manager testified at trial that she saw Hill, a resident of the complex, wearing shorts but no shoes or shirt and behaving strangely on March 9, 2015. After maintenance workers got him to go to his apartment, he reemerged a short time later without any clothes.
The property manager, who testified that she was worried for Hill’s safety because he was behaving so bizarrely, called 911 three times.
Olsen was told by dispatch there was a naked man who was “possibly demented.” Hill was squatting in a roadway when Olsen arrived but jumped up and ran toward the patrol car, according to testimony from several witnesses.
Olsen exited his car and yelled, “Stop! Stop!” Hill didn’t stop and Olsen shot him twice, witnesses said.
Prosecutors told jurors Olsen unreasonably and unnecessarily used deadly force to deal with the unarmed, naked man who was suffering a mental health crisis. Defense attorneys argued Olsen had limited information about the situation, was scared to death, had only seconds to make a tough decision and acted in self-defense.