WOODBINE, Ga. – The family of a man shot and killed by a Kingsland police officer after a traffic stop last June has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against both the officer and the city.
The lawyers handling the case said they are seeking at least $10 million in damages from the city and demanding changes within the department to prevent this from ever happening again.
Tony Green Jr., 33, was shot several times June 20, 2018, as he ran away after being pulled over by Officer Zechariah Presley. Green died of his injuries. Presley was fired by the Kingsland Police Department and later indicted by a Camden County grand jury on charges of voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and violation of his oath of office.
The suit by the plaintiff, identified only as the victim's minor daughter, T.G., is asking for a judgment "equal to the full value of the life" of her father. The lawsuit claims Presley pursued Green's vehicle "for no apparent reason."
"At all times relevant to his action, decedent (Green) was unarmed and did not pose an imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death to defendant Presley," the court document claims. "Decedent's homicide by defendant Presley was without justification or excuse."
COURT DOCUMENT: T.G. vs. Zechariah Presley and City of Kingsland
Why Presley pulled Green over and other details of the case were not released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which investigated the fatal police shooting.
"We are not against police officers, in general," attorney Reginald Greene said. "We need police officers, but we don’t need police officers like Presley. The city agrees. They fired him, but now it’s time for justice to be served."
Malik Shabazz, another lawyer handling the lawsuit, said Kingsland police should never have hired Presley.
"It is clear that Presley should’ve never been on the force, It’s clear that he had incident after incident," Shaba said. "You must get control of the police department."
Presley was in jail for about a month after surrendering to authorities. He was allowed to post bond after his pastor testified that he is not a flight risk and poses no threat to the community.
Judge J. Alexander Atwood set several special conditions on Presley's release, which were requested by Green's attorneys, including that Presley have no contact with Green's family and that he surrender his passport. He also cannot have a firearm or ammunition, cannot consume alcohol or illegal drugs and will be under curfew from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Earlier this month, that curfew was eased to allow Presley more flexibility to hold down a job while awaiting trial, which is scheduled for Sept. 30.
Under Georgia law, voluntary manslaughter is a felony punishable by one to 20 years in prison.
Following Green's death, more than 1,00 people signed a petition for Presley's manslaughter charge to be upgraded to murder. The grand jury was presented with an option to indict Presley with malice murder but only agreed to pursue manslaughter charges, both voluntary and involuntary.