Friends of Anthony Hill await answers in fatal police shooting

Story highlights

  • Anthony Hill, 26, was shot by a police officer in metro Atlanta in March
  • The officer is on leave pending the outcome of an investigation
  • The case is expected to be presented to a grand jury this month

(CNN)It's been seven months and six days since her boyfriend was shot and killed by a police officer in metro Atlanta.

"It's a waiting game," said Bridget Anderson, who was with Anthony Hill for three years.
She has Google Alerts set up to send her emails whenever his name is mentioned in the news.
    "Every time I open that email my heart is pounding," Anderson said. "It's hard just waiting."
    Hill was shot and died March 9 at his apartment complex just outside the city. He was 26 years old.
    Someone had called police to reported a male "acting deranged, knocking on doors, and crawling around on the ground naked," Dekalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander told reporters shortly after the shooting.
    Officer Robert Olsen, a 7-year veteran of the department, was dispatched.
    "When the male saw the officer, he charged, running at the officer. The officer called him to stop while stepping backwards, drew his weapon, and fired two shots," Alexander said.
    The chief said it appears Hill was unarmed.
    Olsen was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, which was given to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) to do. He has not been charged.
    Hill's death sparked protests in Atlanta that echoed nationwide demonstrations around race, policing and excessive force. Olsen is white. Hill was black.
    He joins a list of unarmed African-American men shot by white police officers: Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina; Jonathan Ferrell in Charlotte, North Carolina; and Christian Taylor in Arlington, Texas.

    'It's moving forward'

    The GBI wrapped its investigation and gave it to the Dekalb County District Attorney's Office in April.
    A spokesman for the District Attorney's Office said the case is moving ahead, and that he expects it will be presented to a grand jury before the end of the month.
    Once that's done, and jurors have presented their recommendation, prosecutors will decide whether to pursue the case or not.
    "It's moving forward through our normal process. It just hasn't been presented to the grand jury for civil review. We do anticipate that happening in the coming weeks," said Erik Burton, the spokesman.
    He said he understands why some people might be frustrated with the process, but urged patience.
    "They've lost a loved one. We get it. We understand," Burton said. "But we're here to figure out the facts and we have a job to do, and we want to be very thorough, and sometimes that takes a little time."

    'He needed help'

    Anderson is clear about what she would like to see happen.
    "Hopefully they will go forward with indicting the officer. To me this is the most blatant case of police brutality that's out there right now," she said. "I just don't see how you could kill a naked man."
    Hill was a veteran who served in Afghanistan with the Air Force.
    He was a singer/ songwriter who loved kids and was remembered by his girlfriend as a sweetheart and goofball, someone who would dance in the grocery store and go out of his way to help.
    He also had a history with mental illness, according to Anderson, and struggled to get the support he needed from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
    Shortly before his death, Hill had stopped taking his medication, she said.
    "I think that he didn't know what was going on in his head and he needed help," said Anderson, 23. "He had faith in police officers and I think he was just going to him for help."
    According to an investigation by the Washington Post, 776 people have been shot dead by police so far this year. Of those, at least 198 showed signs of mental illness.
    "They say: 'Oh, he was crazy,' and they just brush it off," said Anderson.
    Instead of police, she would like to see a special mental health unit respond to calls like were made in the case of Hill.
    "I would hate to see it happen to anyone else," she said.