Tony Green’s family held a press conference today with their attorneys Malik Z. Shabazz and Reginald A. Greene. The press conference was held at Kingsland City Hall around noon on Friday.
Tony Green, known to his family as “Punch”,33, was shot on June 21 when Green ran from Officer Presley. The shooting unfolded when Presley was following a vehicle that stopped at an intersection and the driver and passenger ran, according to a statement from the investigative bureau.
Presley, 26, turned himself into Camden County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, June 27 where he was charged with voluntary manslaughter and violating his oath of office.
Shabazz, the national President for Black Lawyers for Justice, which combats injustice from police killings, said this case ” is one of the worst cases that we have encountered” and called it as one of the more serious cases in the nation.
Shabazz stated that it is a “rare occurrence in the United States of America to where a police officer is charged for killing anyone, particularly, an African-American man, and that is significant.” Shabazz said the evidence is compelling to bring Presley into the courtroom and for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) to enact charges on Presley for voluntary manslaughter.
Shabazz also added that Presley has exceeded federal civil rights laws on excessive force, unlawful seizures, and wrongful death. Shabazz thanked local authorities for arresting Presley. The family of Tony Green, according to Shabazz and Greene, are going to pursue a conviction.
“We are going to be very diligent in monitoring this trial and pursuing all that we can to make sure that Officer Zechariah Presley is behind bars for many years,” said Shabazz.
Shabazz added that this incident involving Officer Presley and Tony Green is a systematic problem.
“The City of Kingsland and the authorities here, according to our investigation, have failed in their hiring, failed in their training, failed in their monitoring, and failed in the supervision of their officers, and specifically failed Zechariah Presley,” responded Shabazz.
Throughout the press conference, Shabazz brought up Presley’s personnel record multiple times and pointed multiple complaints of stalking and domestic violence.
“He should not have been hired,” Shabazz added.
“Someone should have intervened. The City and the system failed Tony Green by allowing this officer to be on duty,” said Shabazz.
Shabazz pointed to similar cases across the nation where not only is the individual officer at fault, but the system should take measures to improve. “We are going to fight this case with all that we have,” he added.
Family members spoke at the press conference and his cousin said “our family is hurting and this is a pain that is unexplainable. This is a pain that we do not want anyone else to feel.”
Other family members spoke and said this not only a devastating moment for her, who is the mother of Tony’s daughter, but for the entire community. Family members stated that the local police department in Kingsland has an issue. “We’ve been having this problem,” they added.
One reporter asked the attorneys how they plan to hold the City of Kingsland accountable.
“Federal civil rights laws prohibit cities and municipalities for failure to hire, failure to train, and failure to supervise these officers. If there is a policy in the department that allows Officer Presley to continue duty and engage in the deadly actions he engaged in, then it is just not Officer Presley that is accountable, it is the city,” Shabazz answered.
“It is the Police Department and the city who are responsible for this failure,” Shabazz stated. “They knew in advanced he had this potential. Legal action is imminent.”
Attorney Shabazz cited that the City of Kingsland violates the federal civil rights law (42 U.S.C. § 1983) where municipalities and local governments are persons subject to suit for damages and prospective relief. Additionally, individual employees of the local government may be sued in their individual capacities for damages under this section of the law.
Attorney Reginald Greene said, “It is our position that legal action will occur and we have already given notice to the city. We believe the county and the state may have a responsibility as well. The investigation is ongoing, and it is early. We plan to leave no stone unturned.”
AllOnGeorgia-Camden asked Attorney Greene where the county and the state are specifically liable in this matter which involves the city.
“In this matter, even though the officer was with the City of Kingsland, that is just part of it, ” Greene said. Green added that because there are different interactions between the city, county, and the state in this matter, they have different levels of responsibilities under Georgia law related to this incident.
“If there is any responsibility on their part, we intend to investigate that,” suggested Greene.
Shabazz and Greene were asked why they chose to come to Kingsland, GA they said they are mainly here to make sure that the prosecution and other related matters on a criminal and civil level are done correctly on behalf of the family. Shabazz also states that Presley is a flight risk and no bond is needed.
“We do not want any mistakes. The stakes are too high,” replied Shabazz.
Someone asked from the crowd if there was a response from Kingsland Mayor Kenneth Smith.
“We have not gotten a direct response other than due to simple requests we have made, but no official statement,” said Greene.
Another person asked if granting bond to Officer Presley is appropriate in this case and Shabazz stated that it is not appropriate in this matter. “We don’t believe a bond is appropriate here and we will be in court to advocate for a position that he should remain behind bars.”
Presley’s Bond Hearing –
Presley’s bond hearing convened in Camden County Magistrate Court at 2 pm on Friday. Judge Alex Attwood presided over the hearing.
Presley’s attorney made the case that he needed to bond out as to provide for his family. Furthermore, Presley’s attorney agreed with the state prosecution that Presley would not seek employment as a police officer or other security detail work. Presley’s attorney argued he was not a flight risk and could possibly be endangered while in jail.
In bond hearings, Georgia law allows families to speak on behalf of their family in such cases.
The state allowed the family to present a written statement by Tony Green’s Aunt Teresa Clark. The statement was read by the court’s victims advocate, Sandy Ortega. The statement said that the court should not grant bond.
“Based on the information we received [from authorities] on how he died, shot multiple times in the back and chest, Presley’s life was never endangered to justify the use of deadly force,” read the statement. The written statement went on to say that Presley received multiple complaints from members of the community, but was ignored.
Judge Attwood denied bond. A preliminary hearing is set for July 17, 2018.
The City of Kingsland has fired Presley as a police officer.
The investigation is ongoing by the GBI, and they have not released any information on the autopsy or body cam evidence to the media.
Video of the family press conference with attorneys –
Tony Green Family Press Conference: Kingsland, GA City Hall.
Posted by All On Georgia – Camden on Friday, June 29, 2018
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