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12 Nov, 2015 03:36

Family of unarmed & naked black man fatally shot by police sues white officer

Family of unarmed & naked black man fatally shot by police sues white officer

The family of an Air Force veteran who was shot dead by a police officer in March has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit. Anthony Hill was naked and unarmed when white officer Robert Olsen gunned him down.

Hill’s family has filed a suit against the DeKalb County Police Department, officer Olsen, the county and its board of commissioners.

The suit claims Hill’s death was the "direct result of a policy and practice on the part of DeKalb County and its officials," 11Alive News reported. The family accused the county of failing “to implement adequate policies and procedures for responding to calls for service involving citizens exhibiting traits of a mental or psychological disorder."

“DeKalb County failed to train its officers, including Olsen, for interacting with mentally ill citizens in its County. Anthony S. Hill died because of this policy and practice. As such, DeKalb County and all named Defendants are responsible for his death,” said the plaintiffs, Hill’s mother Carolyn Baylor Giummo and father Anthony S. Hill, Sr.

The fatal shooting took place in March 2015, when Olsen responded to reports about a naked man who was jumping repeatedly off his second-story balcony, knocking on doors and crawling on the ground at an apartment complex outside Atlanta. The officer ended up shooting Hill, a 27-year-old African-American Air Force veteran, when he allegedly failed to obey orders to stop coming towards the officer.

Hill’s family claims he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2013, which led to his discharge from the Air Force. Hill’s girlfriend Bridget Anderson told AP at the time that he had stopped taking his medication a few weeks prior to the incident. She also stressed that she noticed no change in Hill’s behavior.

The officer told a grand jury in October that he felt compelled to protect himself when Hill, nude and unarmed, did not obey orders. The DeKalb County grand jury recommended that a follow-up interview should be conducted with the officer who arrived on the scene after the shooting, along with a “more thorough interview” with the officer who fired the fatal shots.

Hill’s family has now demanded “compensatory and punitive damages” from the county, including attorney fees and a “trial by jury of all issues triable as of right by a jury.”