61 Advocates Charged With Racketeering For ‘Stop Cop City’ Protests In Atlanta
Sixty-one advocates in Atlanta’s “Stop Cop City” movement have been charged with racketeering after a Georgia state investigation into their protests.
The Aug. 29 indictment is another iteration of the state’s RICO law that has entangled high-profile individuals, such as former president Donald Trump.
According to NBC News, individuals associated with the “Stop Cop City” movement are facing charges for allegedly permitting violence to seep into their protests against the expansive and controversial police training facility in Atlanta.
Spanning over two years, the protest has highlighted the facility’s possible negative impact on the local environment and its placement in a predominantly working-class, Black residential area.
However, the actions of the protestors have been negatively perceived by some, with Republican Attorney General Chris Carr calling the activists “militant anarchists” for the vandalism and violence that has occurred since the movement began.
“The 61 defendants together have conspired to prevent the construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center by conducting, coordinating, and organizing acts of violence, intimidation, and property destruction,” Carr said.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, also a Republican, expressed similar sentiments.
“The 61 defendants together have conspired to prevent the construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center by conducting, coordinating, and organizing acts of violence, intimidation, and property destruction,” stated the elected official.
The already extensive charges do not stop with racketeering. Some defendants have also been accused of domestic terrorism, first-degree arson, and money laundering. The incidents and growing strife between protestors and law enforcement reached new heights after the January killing of 26-year-old activist Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, also known as Tortuguita, during a demonstration.
Critics of the charges, such as attorneys at the Southern Poverty Law Center, believe the accusations promote “heavy-handed law enforcement intervention against protesters.”
Dekalb County District Attorney, Sherry Boston, a Democrat, withdrew herself from the prosecuting team given the complexity of the issue. The Vote to Stop Cop City Coalition continues to gain signatures to authorize a vote for residents to determine the fate of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center.