KINGSLAND, Ga. – The Concerned Citizens of Camden County held a town hall meeting Thursday night to call for an increased charge against a former Kingsland police officer involved in the shooting death of a black man.
About 60 people attended the meeting at the Refreshing Oasis Church in Kingsland, which took place about a week after Kingsland Police Officer Zechariah Presley turned himself in on charges of voluntary manslaughter and violating his oath of office in 33-year-old Anthony "Tony" Green's shooting death.
Presley has since been fired.
According to organizers, they called for the meeting because they believe Presley should be charged with murder, not voluntary manslaughter.
Organizers encouraged Camden County voters to sign a petition demanding the manslaughter charge be upgraded to murder.
PETITION: Concerned Citizens of Camden Petition
"The wounds that entered Tony's body, that fatally cost his life -- we feel that was malice murder," Pastor Mack Knight said. "He took a life so I think he needs to do the max instead of just voluntary manslaughter -- he can get out in 10-20 years."
During the meeting, community members passed around and signed the petition.
"I think that we really need to step it up in the community more to get what we're looking for," said community member Serena Ferguson.
According to loved ones and attorneys for the Green family, Presley “was stalking” Green, who was a father of three.
"I knew that he was out there. I knew what type of officer he was," said Torose Jones, Green's friend.
Knight said he believes the bullet wounds in Green's body will provide his death was a murder.
"Hopefully, the body cam and the dash cam from the ex-officer's car, all of that will be released to the public, preferably in some coming days," Knight said. "Everybody will be able to see what we're seeing."
Knight said he hopes enough registered voters in Camden County will sign the petition to ensure justice for Green. He said he's hoping to take the signatures to the district attorney's office next week
News4Jax contacted Presley's lawyer for comment, but had not received a response as of late Thursday evening.
The Concerned Citizens of Camden County plans to hold a march July 13 throughout the city of Kingsland.
The Concerned Citizens of Camden Co. call a town hall meeting tonight. Organizers want voters to sign a petition to increase former Kingsland Officer Zechariah Presley's charges to murder instead of voluntary manslaughter for the shooting death of Tony Green. @wjxt4 pic.twitter.com/4a7mkdpM5h— Corley Peel (@WJXT_CorleyPeel) July 5, 2018
Presley was following 33-year-old Anthony "Tony" Green on June 20. During a traffic stop, Presley made physical contact, but when Green ran, "Presley fired multiple shots resulting in the death of Green," according to a statement from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
According to the arrest warrant, Presley acted "solely as the result of a sudden, violent, and irresistible passion, resulting from serious provocation sufficient to excite such passion in a reasonable person."
The GBI reviewed video from Presley's patrol car and video from his body camera and said efforts were being made to enhance the video for a clear view of the events. The GBI then obtained arrest warrants for Presley, who turned himself in to the Camden County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday.
Kingsland Police Chief Daryl Griffis recommended Wednesday that Presley be fired, and Kingsland City Manager Lee Spell agreed.
According to police records obtained by News4Jax, Presley and Green had previously interacted when he and another officer responded to a call on March 12. The caller accused Green and another woman of trespassing, but no arrest was made.
The Kingsland Police Department also released Presley's personnel file, which shows he was hired last year despite having 10 flags that warranted further inquiry, including domestic violence, marijuana use and repeatedly shouting at people.
According to documents in his personnel file, Presley racked up nine incidents during his 13 months with the Kingsland Police Department.
Presley is being held without bond in Glynn County Jail, as he used to be a corrections officer in Camden County before being hired by the Kingsland Police Department.
His next hearing was set for July 17.
Under Georgia law, if convicted of voluntary manslaughter, Presley faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.