By Richard Fausset
Witnesses to the fatal police shooting of an African-American man gave differing accounts Tuesday. But they all ended with a similar question: Why was it necessary to shoot Anthony Hill, a 27-year-old Air Force veteran who was naked and unarmed?
The shooting, which occurred early Monday afternoon, has prompted mourning, confusion and anger in the apartment complex northeast of Atlanta where Mr. Hill lived.
“He was a calm, friendly person,” said Julio Hernandez, 54, a groundskeeper at the complex whose 14-year-old son rode skateboards with Mr. Hill. “To me, this was police abuse, because what can a naked person do?”
On his social media accounts, Mr. Hill, an aspiring musician, hinted that he had a mental illness. And most everyone who saw him at the apartments Monday said his behavior was bizarre in the extreme in the moments before the police arrived. Mr. Hill, they said, had been lying on the ground, semi-clothed and then naked, and had been jumping repeatedly off his second-story balcony.
The shooting is the third police killing of an unarmed or apparently unarmed black man in the last five days, following shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Madison, Wis. They have occurred as the nation considers race, policing and lethal force in the wake of the killing of another unarmed black man, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo., in August.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is examining the shooting of Mr. Hill. The DeKalb County Police Department identified the officer as Robert Olsen, who has been on the force for seven years. Mr. Olsen, who is white, has been placed on administrative leave pending the result of the investigation.
SB Note: Anthony Hill was a talented young man cut down way too soon. His musical persona was Ant Lanta, listen to some of his music:
Don’t Be Shy: