A protester was shot dead while resisting a $90 million training center in Atlanta’s “Cop City.” What went wrong?


Activists across Atlanta are planning a series of events for the weekend to honor Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, 26, a protester who was fatally shot by police on Wednesday during an operation to drive out protesters protesting the construction of a $90 million police training center in an area Forest.

Defend the Atlanta Forest, one of the groups opposing the construction of the sprawling ‘Cop City’ project, said a watch would be held in the woods on Friday night. The commemorations are expected to continue Saturday.

A Twitter account with unclear ties to the opposition movement was suspended over calls for a “night of rage” and “mutual violence” on Friday.

Teran, known to fellow activists as Tortuguita, was killed Wednesday as a multi-agency task force swept into the South River Forest to clear the encampments of protesters who have been battling the Cop City project since 2021.

The forest protester, who used the pronouns she/she, “was a kind, passionate and loving person, cherished by their community,” according to a Twitter account. after of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, another local group.

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“They spent their time between Atlanta, where they defended the forest from destruction and coordinated mutual aid for the movement, and Florida, where they helped build housing in low-income communities hardest hit by the hurricane,” the group added.

Officials in Georgia say Teran fired on officers without provocation after they disobeyed orders, while activist groups say this account is false or questionable.

“We have reason to believe that the officer shot today was hit by ‘friendly fire’ and not the protester who was killed,” the Atlanta Forest said in a statement. wrote on Twitter following the incident.

“As far as we know so far, we find it unlikely that the police version of events is what actually happened,” said local organizer Kamau Franklin of Community Movement Builders. told Democracy Now!. “The idea of ​​him sitting in a tent and shooting at a SWAT team from inside the tent.”

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“Residents say they hear gunfire all at once, not one blast and then a return of fire,” Mr Kamau continued.

Activist groups have called on officials to release the name of the officers involved in the shooting, as well as body camera footage of what happened.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, whose officers were involved in the task force raid where the shooting took place, will investigate the activist’s death, UKTN 5 Atlanta reports.

Seven others were arrested Wednesday on domestic terrorism charges during the raid that killed Teran, UKTN 5 reports: Geoffrey Parsons, 20, of Maryland; Spencer Bernard Liberto, 29, of Pennsylvania; Matthew Ernest Macar, 30, of Pennsylvania; Timothy Murphy, 25, from Maine; Christopher Reynolds, 31, of Ohio; Teresa Shen, 31, from New York; and Sarah Wasilewski, 35, of Pennsylvania.

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Five others were arrested late last year on similar charges for their ties to the forestry movement.

The Cop City project, which will begin later this year, is jointly funded by the City of Atlanta and the private Atlanta Police Foundation, which counts as donors and board members of major companies such as Amazon, Chick-fil-A and Delta Airlines.

The facility, which is expected to contain a “mock village” with a full mock nightclub and convenience store for workout scenarios, has drawn widespread local opposition, from groups ranging from civil rights protesters to environmentalists to Indigenous groups, who claim the facility is the last reminder of how the Muscogee Creek was forcibly pushed off the forest land in the 19th century.


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