Georgia officer charged in fatal shooting of fleeing black man
A Georgia police officer who investigators say fatally shot a black man who was running away from him was fired and jailed just one week after alerting a dispatcher to his frantic pursuit.
Family members of the dead man demanded justice Thursday, with one of their lawyers referring to the shooting as one of many “senseless killings of black men by police.”
The shooting occurred two days after 17-year-old Antwon Rose was gunned down by an East Pittsburgh police officer while fleeing from a vehicle. Michael Rosfeld was charged Wednesday with criminal homicide in that case.
Kingsland Police Officer Zechariah Presley surrendered Wednesday to the Camden County Sheriff’s Office after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation obtained warrants for his arrest. Presley’s lawyer, Adrienne Browning, said Thursday that her client is looking forward to his day in court. She declined further comment.
Presley, who is white, was following a vehicle that stopped at an intersection June 21 when the driver and passenger ran, according to a statement from the investigative bureau. Presley pursued the driver, later identified as Anthony Marcel Green.
“Got one running! Got two running!” Presley shouted over police radios.
What happened next was recorded on Presley’s body camera.
Images from the camera were enhanced and are still being reviewed by the bureau, along with dashcam footage, GBI Special Agent Stacy Carson said. She said for that reason, neither was being made public.
Presley, 25, caught up with Green, 33, making physical contact, but Green again fled, “at which time Presley fired multiple shots resulting in the death of Green,” the bureau statement said.
Green’s family attorney, Reginald Greene, released a statement saying the family is “seeking justice.”
“Tony Green was gunned down in cold blood by Officer Presley,” Greene said in a statement. “We are encouraged by his swift arrest, but we intend to remain vigilant until he is brought to justice and the family is able to get answers as to why this happened in the first place. The senseless killings of black men by police must stop.”
Presley’s first appearance in court is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday in Camden County, the sheriff’s office said.
Kingsland Police Chief Daryl G. Griffis recommended firing Presley, and Kingsland City Manager Lee Spell agreed, news outlets reported.
The department also released Presley’s personnel file, which shows he was hired last year despite admitting that he had physically fought with his wife, had bought or sold marijuana, repeatedly shouted at people, was involved in at least two crashes and had been arrested for reckless driving and speeding, according to handwritten answers he gave when he applied for a job with the police department.
During his year on the job in Kingsland, he at one point parked outside the house of a black man who had complained to the chief, prompting the man to say that Presley had him fearing for his life, his personnel file shows.
Presley also was suspended for a day without pay and warned about his “poor decision making” in January after he called in a reckless driver while off-duty near a Dunkin Donuts, then sped off in pursuit in his private car at more than 100 mph before his sergeant reached him by phone and made him stop.
As for Green, news outlets reported that he had a traffic ticket in March for a suspended license and a 2016 misdemeanor arrest.
In Georgia, Presley is being held in the Glynn County Jail rather than the Camden County Jail, where he worked as a guard before joining the police force.
Relatives and lawyers for Green’s family are planning a news conference at noon Friday in Kingsland, a south Georgia town about 35 miles north of Jacksonville, Fla.