A former Georgia police officer who fatally shot an unarmed, naked man was found not guilty of murder Monday but was convicted of aggravated assault and other charges that could send him to prison for more than 30 years.
…Olsen, now 57, was a DeKalb County police officer in March 2015 when he responded to a call of a naked man behaving erratically outside an Atlanta-area apartment complex. Shortly after arriving, he fatally shot 26-year-old Anthony Hill, a U.S. Air Force veteran who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. …Olsen is white and Hill was black.
…The jury acquitted Olsen on two counts of felony murder, charges that would have carried a mandatory sentence of life in prison. A felony murder charge doesn’t imply intent to kill but rather that a death occurred as a person was committing another felony, in this case aggravated assault or violation of his oath.
…One of the jurors, who asked that his name not be used because he didn’t want to be linked to the high-profile case, said the fact that Olsen was a police officer made the deliberations difficult.
…By the time they reached a verdict, jurors were pretty evenly split — largely along racial lines — between those who wanted to convict Olsen of murder and those who didn’t, with most white jurors wanting to acquit, he said.
Ultimately, the juror said, he was afraid they wouldn’t be able to reach a unanimous verdict, the case would end up in a mistrial and a subsequent jury wouldn’t convict on any of the counts. So he and some of the others agreed to acquit on the murder charges as long as they reached a guilty verdict on the aggravated assault charge.