Camden County, GA — Zechariah Presley, a former police officer from Georgia who killed Tony Green, a 33-year old unarmed Black man, after shooting him multiple times while he was fleeing, has been acquitted of his manslaughter charges.
He was only found guilty of violating his oath of office, and will face one to five years in jail if convicted. He was ordered to be jailed pending sentencing on October 18.
The case stemmed from the incident in June 2018 wherein Presley followed Green’s car as he thought he was driving with a suspended license. As seen on a dash camera video, Green eventually stopped the car, went out then ran away before he briefly returned to the car to grab an unidentified object then ran again.
Presley then chased Green on foot. Presley’s bodycam caught the incident, but it was not clearly visible. Only the sound of the repeated tasering followed by eight gunshots can be heard.
According to an autopsy report, Green was hit all eight times, one to his chest and the rest was to his back and hips. Small amounts of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and a tranquilizer were allegedly found in his system.
“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.”
However, Presley’s lawyers claimed that he feared for his life since he thought that what Green grabbed when he returned to the car was a gun. Investigators determined the object was a cellphone.
“Tony Green was not shot because of misdemeanor offenses,” defense attorney Adrienne Browning said in her closing argument. “He was shot because of bad decision after bad decision, until the threat was overwhelming and Zech feared for his life.”