The parents of the unarmed Afghanistan War veteran shot dead last March by a DeKalb County police officer announced Wednesday they have filed a wrongful death suit against the officer and the county.
The suit alleges DeKalb officials “failed to implement adequate policies and procedures for responding to calls for service involving citizens exhibiting traits of a mental or psychological disorder.”
Officer Robert Olsen, accused in the suit of using “illegal and excessive force,” was the first to respond to a 911 call from a neighbor concerned about Anthony Hill, who had stripped nude and wandered outside his Chamblee apartment. Friends and family believe Hill, 27, had an adverse reaction to medication prescribed for his recently diagnosed bipolar disorder.
Hill was shot twice after ignoring the officer’s commands to stop. Olsen told a DeKalb civil grand jury last month that he feared for his safety because Hill exhibited behavior consistent with someone who had taken PCP or bath salts.
But according to attorney Christopher Chestnut, who represents the the dead man’s parents, Hill had told witnesses the police were his “friends” and he approached the officer seeking assistance.
Following Hill’s death, DeKalb Public Safety Director Cedric Alexander announced a mandatory increase in such training for all of the county’s law enforcement officers.
Olsen has been on paid leave since the shooting. The 18-person grand jury was evenly split on the question of bringing criminal charges against him.
But DeKalb District Attorney Robert James said recently he still had “serious concerns” about the shooting and will decide soon whether to pursue an indictment against the officer.
Chestnut said Wednesday he is “cautiously optimistic” charges will be brought.
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