6 Arrested After Violent Protests Against Atlanta Police Department: Officials

REUTERS/Cheney Orr

Alyssa Blakemore Contributor
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Peaceful protests turned chaotic Saturday night outside the Atlanta Police Foundation, ending with the arrest of at least six people, according to officials in the Atlanta Police Department.

Protestors gathered Saturday in response to the death of environmental activist 26-year-old Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, who was killed by police Wednesday after reportedly refusing orders from authorities and shooting at state troopers, according to Fox News. The activist, known as Tortuguita (Spanish for “little turtle”), allegedly shot a Georgia State Patrol trooper in the abdomen Jan 18. Law enforcement then fired back, striking and killing Teran, Fox reported.

The Jan. 18 shooting took place as authorities worked to clear a swath of land intended as the future site of a police training center, according to CNN. The site, nicknamed “Cop City” by its adversaries, was occupied by activists opposed to the proposed $90 million facility’s environmental impact, the outlet reported. Among the approximately 25 “campsites” cleared, authorities discovered “mortar style fireworks, multiple edged weapons, pellet rifles, gas masks, and a blow torch,” according to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) press release.

The group Scenes from the Atlanta Forest tweeted ahead of Saturday’s protests, calling for a “Night of Rage” against police in retaliation for Teran’s death, according to Fox News. (RELATED: ‘Based Upon Law And Facts’: Charges Dropped Against Atlanta Police In Death Of Rayshard Brooks)

“Consider this a call for reciprocal violence to be done to the police and their allies. On Friday, January 20th, wherever you are, you are invited to participate in a night of rage in order to honor the memory of our fallen comrade,” the post said, according to the outlet. The Tweet allegedly violated the social media platform’s terms and conditions.

Scenes from the riots included smashed windows, walls vandalized with anti-police graffiti and a police cruiser set ablaze, NPR reported. Activists wearing masks and dressed in black lobbed rocks and set off fireworks outside the Atlanta Police Foundation, the outlet reported.

Of the six individuals arrested Saturday, five had traveled from out of state, according to CNN. All six face charges of domestic terrorism, arson in the first degree, criminal damage in the second degree and interference with government property, the outlet reported, citing police.