Manslaughter charge: Georgia officer shot fleeing black man

Published June 29, 2018, 12:30 AM

by Roel Tibay

By the Associated Press

A Georgia police officer who fatally shot a black man who was running away from him was fired and jailed on charges of voluntary manslaughter and violating his oath of office, just one week after alerting a dispatcher to his frantic pursuit.

This undated photo provided by the Kingsland Police Department shows Officer Zechariah Presley. Presley was in jail on Thursday, June 28, 2018, charged with voluntary manslaughter and violating his oath of office, after state investigators said he fatally shot a black man who was running away from him on June 21. (Kingsland Police Department via AP/MANILA BULLETIN)
This undated photo provided by the Kingsland Police Department shows Officer Zechariah Presley. (Kingsland Police Department via AP/MANILA BULLETIN)

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.

A GBI statement says Presley, who is white, was following a vehicle that stopped at an intersection on June 21 when the driver and passenger ran. Presley pursued the driver, later identified as Anthony Marcel Green.

“Got one running! Got two running!” Presley shouted over police radio.

What happened next was recorded on Presley’s body camera.

Those images were enhanced and reviewed by the GBI, special agent Stacy Carson said. She said it remains under investigation and neither the body-camera video nor dash-camera images are 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 GBI statement says.

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. 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,” the statement said.

Presley’s first appearance in court was scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday at the Camden County Courthouse in Woodbine, Georgia, the sheriff’s office said. Local media didn’t report whether he has an attorney to speak on his behalf.

Kingsland Police Chief Daryl G. Griffis recommended terminating Presley, and Kingsland City Manager Lee Spell agreed, local media 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 “2-3” accidents and had been arrested for “reckless, eluding, speeding,” according to his handwritten text.

Presley also racked up nine incidents during in his year in the police department, at one point parking 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.

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, local media report that he had a traffic ticket in March for a suspended license and a 2016 misdemeanor arrest.

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.

Kingsland is in Georgia’s southeast corner, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Jacksonville, Florida.