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61 people have been indicted in the US for their involvement in protests against a proposed police training facility in Atlanta, Georgia. Dubbed “Cop City” by opponents, the project has been under scrutiny since its 2021 announcement.
Some of those charged include “Atlanta Forest Defenders” members
The indictment, released by Fulton County, Georgia, prosecutors, claims the protesters are part of a violent “militant anarchist” movement that began during the racial justice protests in 2020. All individuals face charges under Georgia’s RICO Act.
Attorney General Chris Carr, leading the case, suggests a “conspiracy” existed to halt the facility’s construction. Many of the indicted had prior charges related to the movement, with several facing domestic terrorism allegations. Some defendants are accused of violence towards police and others of providing resources like weapons and food, the latter being described as aiding the conspiracy.
The proposed facility has been a focal point of contention, with tension escalating after the shooting of 26-year-old protester Manuel Esteban Paez Teran. While the Georgia Bureau of Investigation states troopers fired in self-defense, the absence of body cameras during the incident has raised doubts among critics.
Advocates for the facility, including Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, believe the $90 million facility is essential for improving police training and recruitment challenges exacerbated by high-profile incidents like the deaths of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks.
The case is currently overseen by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams after the initial judge recused himself.