Nearly three dozen people have been apprehended by police following a demonstration that descended into chaos at the “Cop City” site in DeKalb County. Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum described the attack as “very violent” at a midnight news conference, noting that multiple pieces of construction equipment had been ignited and that projectiles, including chunks of rock, Molotov cocktails, and fireworks were thrown at officers.
Fortunately, no law enforcement personnel were hurt, as other police forces came to reinforce the Atlanta Police. Chief Schierbaum’s statement prioritized the safety of all involved, and highlighted that the acts of violence were not due to disagreement regarding the Public Safety Training Center’s construction, claiming the demonstration was “about anarchy.”
The Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, spoke out against the incident, asserting that “domestic terrorism will NOT be tolerated in this state” and that protesters had “chosen destruction and vandalism” over a more peaceful form of demonstration. He further declared that he will see that the perpetrators of these “extremist” acts are brought to justice.
As of this writing, the names and charges against each of the arrested are yet to be revealed, though the Police Chief noted that many were not local to Atlanta. Originally approved by the Atlanta City Council in 2021, the training center had sparked humanitarian and environmentalist opposition due to potential damage to trees.
The situation has been further complicated since the death of a 26-year-old environmental activist at the site in January and subsequent riots in downtown Atlanta that left windows shattered and a police cruiser set ablaze. At present, proposals for stricter criminal sentences for such outbursts of violence have been brought forward, with domestic terrorism now a felony that may carry up to 35 years of prison time.
Prepare for more protests in the coming days, warned the Atlanta Police Department in a statement released today.