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)

Manslaughter charge: Georgia officer shot fleeing black man

June 28, 2018 - 2:39 pm

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia police officer who investigators say fatally shot a black man who was running away from him was fired and jailed just one week after alerting a dispatcher to his frantic pursuit.

Family members of the dead man demanded justice Thursday, with one of their lawyers referring to the shooting as one of many "senseless killings of black men by police."

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. Presley's lawyer, Adrienne Browning, said Thursday that her client is looking forward to his day in court. She declined further comment.

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

"Got one running! Got two running!" Presley shouted over police radios.

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

Images from the camera were enhanced and are still being reviewed by the bureau, along with dashcam footage, GBI Special Agent Stacy Carson said. She said for that reason, neither was 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 bureau statement said.

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," Greene said in a statement. "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."

Presley's first appearance in court is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday in Camden County, the sheriff's office said.

Kingsland Police Chief Daryl G. Griffis recommended firing Presley, and Kingsland City Manager Lee Spell agreed, news outlets 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 at least two crashes and had been arrested for reckless driving and speeding, according to handwritten answers he gave when he applied for a job with the police department.

During his year on the job in Kingsland, he at one point parked 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, his personnel file shows.

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 (160 kph) before his sergeant reached him by phone and made him stop.

As for Green, news outlets reported that he had a traffic ticket in March for a suspended license and a 2016 misdemeanor arrest.

The shooting comes after several high-profile cases of white law officers killing black men in recent years. Just this week in Pennsylvania, a white police officer was charged with criminal homicide eight days after fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager in the back, authorities said. "You do not shoot someone in the back if they are not a threat to you," Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said after that killing.

In Georgia, 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.

Relatives and lawyers for Green's family are planning a news conference at noon Friday in Kingsland, a south Georgia town about 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Jacksonville, Florida.

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