‘Cop City’ protests to continue through weekend, organizers say

Southeast

ATLANTA (NewsNation) — The groups protesting against the building of a new law enforcement facility near Atlanta said they plan to continue their demonstrations throughout the weekend after authorities killed a man who shot and injured a Georgia state trooper.

On Thursday, investigators identified the deceased protester as 26-year-old Manuel Esteban Paez Teran. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said he was inside a tent in the woods and did not comply with verbal commands from law enforcement officers trying to clear the area.

Officers from several law enforcement agencies were conducting an operation to clear people out of the area around 9 a.m. Wednesday when someone fired at them and officers shot back in self-defense, GBI Director Mike Register said during a news conference. A trooper was shot in the abdomen and the man who shot at the officers was killed at the scene, Register said.

The area in southeast Atlanta is where a massive law enforcement facility is set to be built. But since the announcement of plans in 2021, there have been ongoing demonstrations.

Opponents of the $90 million facility call it “Cop City,” and, according to them, it will endanger wildlife and further militarize police.

Those who support the building of the facility say the project is necessary to fight rising crime in Atlanta.

The 85-acre property is owned by the city of Atlanta but is located just outside the city limits in unincorporated DeKalb County, and includes a former state prison farm.

In an email to news outlets Wednesday morning, opponents of the training facility said they gathered outside the DeKalb County courthouse Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to demand that DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston drop the charges against people who were arrested at the site Dec. 13 and 14. They “spoke about how the movement to stop cop city continues Atlanta’s history of resistance to state violence,” the email says.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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