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Kent Wired

The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2

Kent Wired

The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2

Kent Wired

6 arrested after Atlanta protests over controversial ‘Cop City’ and fatal police shooting of activist

CNN — Six people were arrested Saturday evening in downtown Atlanta, authorities said, during protests that came in response to a proposed police training facility and the fatal police shooting of an activist earlier in the week.

The protesters marched in a “peaceful manner” down a central Atlanta street but a group within the crowd later began “committing illegal acts,” including breaking windows and attacking police cruisers, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said in a news conference.

Police arrested six people and were continuing to investigate whether there were any others involved in illegal activity, the chief said. Three businesses sustained damage to their windows, he added.

Social media footage showed a police cruiser on fire in the downtown area, and video from CNN affiliate WANF showed broken windows at a Wells Fargo bank.

The protests come in response to a planned $90 million, 85-acre law enforcement training facility – dubbed “Cop City” by its opponents – and just days after the police killing of 26-year-old activist Manuel Esteban Paez Terán near the site of the training center.

The Wednesday killing was “indicative of a level of extreme escalation by the police,” said Sean Wolters, who is working within the broad coalition of the “Defend the Atlanta Forest” movement, which opposes the facility.

The Saturday protests aimed to bring awareness to the Atlanta Police Foundation and some of the entities tied to it, Wolters said.

“Why are we even talking about a few windows really, when we should be focused on the life of (Terán) and what he stood for and investigating what happened to him independently?” Wolters told CNN by phone on Sunday morning.

Some of the people arrested Saturday have “already been involved in other criminal activity and are involved in a manner to deter the building of the public safety training center,” Schierbaum, the police chief, said.

“My message is simple to those who seek to continue this type of criminal behavior,” Mayor Andre Dickens said during the news conference. “We will find you and we will arrest you and you will be held accountable.” Dickens was among the city council members who voted in favor of the training center in 2021.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said on Twitter “violence and unlawful destruction of property are not acts of protest. They are crimes that will not be tolerated in Georgia and will be prosecuted fully.”

During the news conference, Dickens said many of those arrested “don’t even live in Atlanta or in the state of Georgia” and some were found “with explosives.”

Wolters told CNN there are people across the US who have traveled to the state to join the protests in opposition to the planned training facility and that it is “their constitutional right to do so.”

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens spoke in Saturday's news conference and said order had been "restored."
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens spoke in Saturday’s news conference and said order had been “restored.” WANF

Slain activist’s mother feels angry and ‘powerless’

The activist’s fatal police shooting unfolded Wednesday morning, during what authorities said was a clearing operation to remove people from the site of the future facility. Opponents of the center have camped out in the area for months in an attempt to halt construction.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said law enforcement officers spotted an individual in a tent in the woods and gave verbal commands, but the individual allegedly did not comply and shot a Georgia State Patrol trooper, according to a news release.

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