Violence flares again at Atlanta Police Training Site

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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 65
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06 Mar 2023, 6:19 pm

35 people detained after "coordinated attack" at Atlanta's "Cop City" police training site

Nearly three dozen people have been detained after flaming bottles and rocks were thrown at officers during a violent protest at a new police training center that's been the site of prior demonstrations and the death of a protester, Atlanta police said.

Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said at a midnight news conference that several pieces of construction equipment were set on fire Sunday at the site for the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center in DeKalb County.

Surveillance video released by police show a piece of heavy equipment in flames at the facility under construction that critics have dubbed "Cop City." It was among multiple pieces of construction equipment destroyed, police said.

Authorities charged 23 people with domestic terrorism in connection with the protest, according to the Atlanta Police Department. The protesters facing charges, whose names and photographs were published by law enforcement online, are from various states across the U.S. as well as Canada and France, according to police. Their ages range from 18 years old to nearly 50. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation filed all charges.

In a statement, police called the incident "a coordinated attack" on equipment and officers by individuals who they allege "used the cover of a peaceful protest" to access the premises before changing "into black clothing and entering the construction area."

Protesters dressed in all black threw large rocks, bricks, Molotov cocktails, and fireworks at police officers Sunday at the construction site, police said.

Other police agencies stepped in to assist city officers, and no officers were injured, Schierbaum said. Officers used restraint and nonlethal enforcement methods to disperse the crowd and detain those involved, he said.

"The agitators destroyed multiple pieces of construction equipment by fire and vandalism," the Atlanta Police Department said in a news release issued on Sunday night. At the time, 35 people had been detained in connection with the protest, according to the police department.

In January, a 26-year-old environmental activist was shot to death by law officers in the forest where the training center is being built.

More protests are planned in coming days, police said.

Mounting clashes between environmental activists and law enforcement officers in Atlanta gained national attention earlier this year. In January, a confrontation between police and protesters at the "Cop City" construction site — which unfolded as officers attempted to clear people from the area — ended with gunfire. One protester was killed and a state trooper was wounded, but the details of what happened remained unclear.

The $90 million, 85-acre center, which includes a shooting range, mock city and burn building, among other facilities, will "reimagine law enforcement training and Police/Fire Rescue community engagement," said the Atlanta Police Foundation, a not-for-profit that helps fund police initiatives through private-public partnerships in a statement on its website.

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Joined: 9 Sep 2022
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06 Mar 2023, 7:53 pm

I'm so glad I don't live in Atlanta.