Violent Protestors Attack Police and Construction Equipment at Atlanta Public Safety Training Center
Amid a peaceful protest on March 5, 2023, in opposition to the proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, a group of violent agitators launched a coordinated attack on construction equipment and police officers. Video footage released by the Atlanta police department showed that the protesters tossed Molotov cocktails as well as large bricks and set off fireworks at police officers while they attempted to ignite construction equipment. So far, 35 individuals have been taken into custody.
In January of this year, an incident at the training site involving a Georgia State Patrol trooper resulted in the death of protester Manuel Teran, drawing national attention to the conflict surrounding the project. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Teran fired the first shot, wounding the trooper, as the state attempted to evict protesters from the property.
Atlanta Police Department chief Darin Schierbaum told reporters, “This was a very violent attack that occurred this evening. This wasn’t about a public safety training center, this was about anarchy and this was about the attempt to be stabilized, and we are addressing that quickly.” Schierbaum added, “When you throw commercial-grade fireworks, when you throw Molotov cocktails, large rocks, a number of items at officers, your only intent is to harm, and the charges are going to show that.”
This week's protests are requested by the police to stay peaceful. Mayor Andre Dickens of Atlanta has created a new task force to further involve the locals in the plans for the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center and the neighboring green space, including the former Atlanta Prison Farm.
Since 2021, those who are against the training center have been demonstrating their objections by constructing platforms in the neighboring trees and setting up camp at the location. It is said that the Atlanta Police Foundation's proposed project would involve the cutting down of a large number of trees, resulting in detrimental environmental consequences. Activists are also against investing such a large amount of money into a police building that would be encircled by communities of minority ethnicity, the majority of whom are impoverished, in a city that has one of the widest gaps between the wealthy and the poor in all of the United States.
The state patrol were dispatched to the building site to disperse the protesters. Georgia Governor Kemp declared a state of emergency on Jan. 26 and called for the mobilization of 1,000 National Guard troops.
A music festival was part of what protestors against the facility called a “week of mobilization.” Defend Atlanta Forest and Stop Cop City organized a week-long series of events to express their opposition.
0. “Dozens detained after a construction vehicle was set ablaze and bricks were thrown at police training site in Atlanta” KOMU 8, 6 Mar. 2023, https://www.komu.com/news/nationworld/dozens-detained-after-a-construction-vehicle-was-set-ablaze-and-bricks-were-thrown-at-police/article_6885a11d-0b94-5d07-80a0-bc160e38284a.html
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