After a night of violent protests at the proposed Atlanta public safety training complex, more than 20 persons were charged with domestic terrorism Monday.
In a Monday news release, Atlanta police charged 23 persons with domestic terrorism for Sunday’s protests, two of whom were Georgia citizens. Two were from France and Canada, while others came from Arizona, Colorado, and Utah.
Police detained Thomas Webb Jurgens, 28, a staff attorney for the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, which the FBI has used to label Christian and conservative groups “hate groups,” according to WSB-TV.
The FBI told The Atlanta Journal Constitution Monday that those suspects may face federal charges as the investigation continues.
At a Sunday night press conference, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum claimed demonstrators were at an event near the training site. Some “left that place and at around 5:30 p.m. headed toward the training center site armed with pyrotechnics, rocks, Molotov cocktails and launched a concerted criminal attack against officers at that location.”
The cops reported many construction equipment fires and vandalism. Authorities arrested 35 originally.
Schierbaum warned such actions would not be tolerated. Attacking police and damaging equipment is illegal.
The attack was violent. This was about anarchy and destabilization, not public safety training.
Atlanta police posted footage of the protests, including one showing cops hiding behind a fence when demonstrators tossed fireworks at them. Protesters burn construction equipment and throw items at police cars in another video.
Republican Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr tweeted Monday that Sunday night’s protest was violence. “We will not accept this property devastation, and we will endeavor to guarantee that those who committed this criminal behavior are held accountable to the greatest extent of the law.”
Opponents of “Cop City,” the $90 million public safety training center, have protested violently for months over environmental concerns.
Defend the Atlanta Forest, a social media site used by opponents of the facility, tweeted Sunday night, “It’s important to note that the 23 people that police arrested tonight were not ‘violent agitators,’ but peaceful concert goers who were nowhere near the demonstration.” Activists said they were attending a nearby music festival.
Just two months after police killed Manuel Teran, 26, during a clearing operation, the latest violence occurred. Authorities said Tortuguita, aka Teran, disobeyed orders and fired first, wounding a Georgia state trooper. After Tortuguita’s death, downtown Atlanta protesters burned a police cruiser and smashed the Atlanta Police Foundation’s windows.