Thu | Sep 24, 2020

Former US cop gets one year prison sentence for killing unarmed black man

Published:Saturday | October 19, 2019 | 12:07 PM
Zechariah Presley in an undated file photo provided by the Kingsland Police Department.

WOODBINE, Ga. (AP) A former police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man who was running away from him has been given a one-year prison sentence.

The sentence was imposed on Zechariah Presley yesterday, nearly two weeks after the ex-cop was freed of a manslaughter charge, but found guilty of violating his oath of office.

Presley was also ordered to serve four years of probation by Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett, who presided over the trial in Camden County near the Georgia-Florida state line.

The former Kingsland police officer, who is white, faced up to five years in prison for his actions in the June 2018 killing of 33-year-old Tony Green.

Before the sentencing, Green’s relatives indicated in court that the shooting and verdict had divided their community along racial lines and called for the maximum five-year sentence.

But Presley’s wife said her husband was the “backbone” of their family and indicated that their sons would be devastated if he were away longer.

Presley recounted during the trial that he tried to pull over Green on the night of June 20, 2018 because he believed Green was driving on a suspended license.

Green reportedly fled on foot after his car went off the road.

Presley ran after him and the chase ended with a brief struggle between the men.

Presley’s body camera was working, but darkness and an object covering the lens obscured the shooting and the moments leading up to it.

The equipment, however, recorded the clicking sound of his Taser, followed by gunshots.

It also recorded him telling another officer afterwards that Green had been on top of him, trying to grab his Taser.

“And then I was going for my gun, and he started taking off. And I fired,” Presley was heard saying in the recording.

An autopsy found Green was struck by eight bullets — one to his chest, the rest to his back and hips.

Green also had small amounts of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and a tranquiliser in his system.

The judge said he suspected neither side was satisfied with the indictment or the verdict.

“If we’re looking for this court’s sentence to change those fixed opinions, unfortunately, I don’t think it will,” he said.

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