A former Georgia police officer has been found not guilty of the manslaughter charges he faced after fatally shooting a man in the back in 2018.
On Saturday, a jury returned a verdict of not guilty for both voluntary and involuntary manslaughter charges. Zechariah Presley was on trial for the 2018 fatal shooting of Tony Green.
Green was killed when he and Presley got into an altercation following a traffic stop last June.
While Presley was acquitted of the manslaughter charges, the former cop was found guilty of violating his oath of office, a charge that comes with a prison sentence of between one and five years. He’s set to be sentenced on October 18.
On June 20, according to the GBI, Anthony “Tony” Green was driving with an unidentified passenger. Presley followed the vehicle. Green stopped the automobile at the intersection of Lily and North East streets, and he and the passenger ran off, authorities said. When this occurred, Presley gave chase.
Eventually the officer caught up to Green and deployed his stun gun in an effort to stop him.
“He was grabbing at my Taser. I kind of tased myself, I think, in the arm maybe,” Presley reportedly told another officer at the scene. “And then I was going for my gun, and he started taking off. And I fired.”
The officer said he thought the man he pursued was armed, but investigators said he was only holding a phone.
The jury cleared him of both voluntary and involuntary manslaughter charges, but found him guilty of violating his oath of office.https://t.co/czSu4S6YRx
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) October 6, 2019
“The man that murdered my son gets to go home to his sons … and can only possibly serve 1 to 5 (years) for murder,” Green’s father said. “This ought to serve notice to a lot of our young black men and black men, period, that you can run up and down the football field, you can run on down the courts, you can hit baseballs, you can do it. But at the end of the day, when I see you, they see a black man.”
Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans? It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans. Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice. Check it out today.
Becci Shannon said she heard gunshots the night Green was fatally shot just feet from her family’s house.
“We heard eight quick pops,” Shannon recounted. “We saw the ambulance and medics come on the scene and start doing CPR. It was very unreal.”
The GBI reviewed video from Presley’s patrol car and video from his body camera, but said efforts were being made to enhance the video for a clear view of the events.
“He took a life, so he should get life, too,” Juanita Knight, Green’s aunt, told News4Jax.
A Georgia jury continued to deliberate late Friday the fate of a former Kingsland police officer for manslaughter charges in the June 20, 2018, shooting death of unarmed 33-year-old suspect running away. Zechariah Presley faces up to 20 years in prison. https://t.co/TcpFrNibVu
— Florida Times-Union (@jaxdotcom) October 5, 2019
While a memorial site, which marks the spot where the man was killed, has brought people together, some residents described a growing divide in the community.
“I would say a divide has taken place (between) blacks and whites,” said a woman who did not want to be identified. “I pray that bridge can be mended as justice is served.”
Despite the arrest of the officer, Shannon said the entire Kingsland community is hurting over the incident.
“I don’t think it’s a healing time yet because I don’t think people have the hope that there’s a solution to keep this type of thing from happening again,” she said. “Some are outraged and some are just blowing it off, and I don’t understand why.”
Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.
Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing! (See image below.) Thanks for being a part of the LET family!