From a member of the Atlanta Revolution Club:
February 1, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
On Monday, March 9, Anthony Hill, a 27-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by white DeKalb County (in the Atlanta metro area) police officer Robert Olsen. Hill, known by his friends as Tony, was met by police after a neighbor reported that he was walking around the apartment complex naked and confused. Rather than trying to help him, the pig fired two shots into Tony’s chest, leaving him on the ground naked for over an hour as friends and neighbors begged them to cover his body as the children got off their school buses. The cop claimed that Tony “lunged” at him, leading him to shoot Tony dead—however, even the DeKalb County Chief of Police had to admit that Tony was unarmed. The cop was carrying a Taser and pepper spray, but instead chose to reach for his gun and take Tony’s life. (from “DeKalb County, Georgia: Anger at Police Murder of Unarmed Anthony Hill: It’s Time to Stand Up!”)
DeKalb County protest against police killing of Anthony Hill, March 14, 2015. (Photo: Special to revcom.us)
Over the past year, revolutionaries, as well as other activists, have organized protests and engaged in acts of resistance, demanding justice for Anthony Hill and the many others (more than 1,200 people in the U.S. in 2015 alone (http://killedbypolice.net/) murdered by police. Some of the actions included a powerful protest called by Stop Mass Incarceration Network in the streets of downtown Atlanta and on the Georgia State University campus with a performance by Janelle Monáe and Wondaland with families whose loved ones were murdered by police. Local Black Lives Matter activists also interrupted a speech by Hillary Clinton at the Atlanta University Center and brought Anthony Hill’s name to the fore.
In November, we again wrote to Revolution about the outrageous “recommendations” delivered by a civil grand jury regarding the murders of Anthony Hill and Kevin Davis: “The grand jury’s recommendations were: NO charges for the cop that murdered Kevin Davis, and a ‘more thorough interview’ with Anthony Hill’s killer before deciding whether or not to press charges.” (“Don’t Let Them Get Away With Murder: Georgia Grand Jury Issues Recommendations for the Cops that Killed Anthony Hill and Kevin Davis”)
Stop Mass Incarceration Network Atlanta issued a petition denouncing the grand jury’s recommendations, demanding that District Attorney Robert James indict the killer cops.
As the grand jury began its meeting in January, dozens of local activists, including Anthony Hill’s girlfriend, braved three days of cold rain setting up an encampment outside the courthouse to demand an indictment. Then on Thursday, January 21, it happened: Robert Olsen, the cop who killed Anthony Hill, was indicted on six counts, including felony murder. Olsen was arrested and released on $110,200 bond.
Following the indictment, Anthony Hill’s family’s lawyer said that “this is a day in history,” referring to the scarcity of cops indicted for shootings in Georgia (and nationally, as well). Since 2010, there have been at least 184 fatal shootings of civilians by police in Georgia. In nearly half of these cases, the person shot by police was either unarmed or shot in the back. Over a third of those killed were shot in their own home or the home of a loved one, often after a call for help. Out of those 184 killings, only one cop has been indicted (the cop shot a man in the back of the head)—however, the district attorney in the case persuaded the judge to drop the charges the next day! (http://investigations.myajc.com/overtheline/ga-police-shootings/)
Let’s be clear about the indictment of Robert Olsen: what persuaded D.A. Robert James to pursue charges against the killer cop and proclaim “I am no longer neutral. I’ve become an advocate” is not an uncovering of new facts. Anthony Hill was naked, obviously unarmed, and suffering from a mental episode (the 911 caller requested medical attention for Anthony, but instead the call was dispatched as a “suspicious” person)—those are not new facts. The fact that Olsen had a number of options other than killing Anthony Hill is not a new revelation to anyone—let alone the district attorney.
The righteous resistance that erupted immediately after Anthony’s killing coupled with protests and rebellions in cities around the country—people saying NO MORE! to this shit—refusing to let the cops murder with impunity, led to the indictment. Mass resistance is what compelled the system to charge the killer cop. And now the resistance must escalate to a higher level—that is what it is going to take to MAKE them CONVICT Anthony’s killer.
Now is the time to act to build this resistance and strengthen the movement to STOP MURDER BY POLICE nationally. I encourage everyone reading this to get in touch with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network (go to stopmassincarceration.net) and find a way to contribute all that you can. As I write this, we are preparing to travel from Atlanta to Charlotte, North Carolina, for the Southeastern regional conference called for by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. We invite anyone who wants justice for those whose lives have been stolen by the police to join us in demanding MURDER BY POLICE MUST STOP! Which Side Are You On?