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Georgia Police Officer Kills Unarmed Black Man Who Was Naked and ‘Acting Deranged’

Anthony Hill appeared to be in the middle of a mental breakdown when he was shot and killed by a white Dekalb County police officer in the greater Atlanta area on Monday afternoon.

by Alice Speri
Mar 10 2015, 5:35pm

Photo by David Conner

VICE News is closely watching policing in America. Check out the Officer Involved blog here.

An unarmed black man who appeared to be in the middle of a mental breakdown was shot and killed Monday afternoon by a white police officer in Dekalb County, outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

Police responded to a call describing a man "acting deranged, knocking on doors, and crawling around on the ground naked" in his apartment complex, and said that they shot 27-year-old Anthony Hill after he "charged" at an officer. The officer fired twice.

Cellphone video taken before the shooting shows Hill walking around the apartment complex, jumping from a balcony, and crawling on the ground.

Witnesses said the officer told Hill to get inside or face arrest. One witness reportedly said Hill ran towards the police officer with his hands up. 

Another witness to the killing told local reporters that Hill was "acting crazy" but not threatening.

"He was calm like he didn't know where he was," the witness said. "He was like, kind of lost in his face."

Hill died at the scene.

Related: Protests Continue After Fatal Police Shooting of Unarmed Black Teen in Madison, Wisconsin

The fatality came as protests in Madison, Wisconsin, heated up over the police killing of 19-year-old Tony Robinson — another unarmed black man — on Friday. It also raised renewed questions about the ability of local law enforcement officials to handle mentally ill individuals without resorting to deadly force.

The officer who killed Hill — a seven-year veteran — was carrying a Taser at the time of the shooting, but it apparently went unused.

"I can only reasonably assume that if he was running around the apartment complex naked, I believe we can make the assumption there may have been some mental health experience that he might have been having," DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander told reporters.

Just hours before being killed, Hill, originally from South Carolina, had written on Facebook: "Where I once saw death I only see life."

In previous days he had also been discussing the #BlackLivesMatter phrase that gained nationwide popularity on the heels of the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Alexander requested that Hill's killing be investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for the sake of transparency.

The same police department came under fire last December when a police officer shot and killed Kevin Davis, a 44-year-old black man who had called 911 after his girlfriend was stabbed by another man. 

Follow Alice Speri on Twitter: @alicesperi
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