Presley
Undated photo provided by the Kingsland Police Department shows Officer Zechariah Presley. | Kingsland Police Department

White Ex-Georgia Police Officer Acquitted of Killing Fleeing Unarmed Black Man

Then-Georgia Officer Zechariah Presley shot Tony Green, 33, in coastal Camden County near the Georgia-Florida state line on the night of June 20, 2018. Presley was following Green’s car because he thought that he was driving on a suspended license — it’s not clear why he thought that — when Green stopped the car, jumped out, went back to grab an object (which turned out to be a cell phone) and then fled again.

All of this was caught on Presley’s bodycam, but something was partially obscuring the camera, so the full video isn’t available, and it’s not clear exactly what happened.

Presley was fired after the shooting, but he was acquitted on Saturday of voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter and will only face one to five years in jail after he was charged with violating his oath of office. Presley was ordered to be jailed pending sentencing Oct. 18, the Associated Press reported.

Presley chased Green on foot. The video is not clear, but the audio picks up Presley tasering Green several times and then eight gun shots. Green was hit all eight times. All but one of them was in his back and hips.

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“He admitted that he killed Tony Green in cold blood,” Pastor Mack De’Von Knight, whose church Green attended, told the Associated Press. “To me, it’s hunting season for the young black man and we’re being gunned down in the streets and there’s no repercussions, there’s no consequences for these officers.”

Presley’s lawyers argued that the officer feared for his life and thought Green’s cell phone was a gun. They also blamed Green for his death.

“Tony Green was not shot because of misdemeanor offenses,” defense attorney Adrienne Browning said in her closing argument Thursday, according to the Associated Press. “He was shot because of bad decision after bad decision, until the threat was overwhelming and Zech feared for his life.”

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