Out of those arrested in Atlanta weekend protest, only 1 is from Georgia

Crime

Credit: Atlanta Police Department.

(NewsNation) — Atlanta police said a peaceful protest quickly turned violent over the weekend with broken windows, a police car set on fire and at least six people arrested.

Police said peaceful protests, reportedly opposing the building of a police training center, started at around 5 p.m. Saturday. Once the marching protesters reached the intersection of Ellis Street and Peachtree Street, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum says a group inside the crowd started shattering windows and attacking police cruisers.

Within two blocks of the area, Chief Schierbaum said officers put an end to the destruction and arrested six people that “chose to take the First Amendment as a shield for illegal activity.” Out of those arrested, only one person is listed as being from Georgia.

Nadja Geier, 24, of Nashville, Tennessee; Madeleine Feola, 22, of Spokane, Washington; Ivan Ferguson, 23, of Nevada; Graham Evatt, 20, of Decatur, Georgia; Francis Carrol, 22, of Kennebunkport, Maine; and Emily Murphy, 37, of Grosse Isle, Michigan, were arrested in connection to the destruction. They each face the following charges: domestic terrorism, interference with government property, first-degree arson, criminal damage, unlawful assembly, riot, willful obstruction and pedestrian in the roadway.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said those arrested do not represent the voices of Atlanta residents and pointed out that some suspects were found with explosives on them.

“Make no mistake about it, these individuals meant harm to people and to property,” Dickens said.

Schierbaum said he agreed and believes the suspects intended to cause even more harm to the city. At least three businesses were damaged during the incident.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or an attorney to tell you that breaking windows and setting fire is not protest, that is terrorism,” Schierbaum said.

This isn’t the first incident surrounding the proposed APD training site. WSB-TV reports that earlier last week, authorities said one of the protesters at the proposed site shot a state trooper and was killed by return gunfire.

Some activists have called the death of the 26-year-old, who went by Tortuguita, a murder and have questioned officials’ account of what happened. According to reports, Tortuguita’s death may also be considered a catalyst for Saturday’s protest.

Mayor Dickens insists that Atlanta is safe and that order was restored in a swift manner Saturday.

“The City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Police Department will not tolerate this. We continue to protect the right to peacefully protest. We will not tolerate violence or property destruction,” Mayor Dickens said.

Both Dickens and Schierbaum say they want to protect the rights of peaceful protesters, hold those who cause destruction accountable and keep Atlanta safe.

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