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‘Cop City’ protestor killed by police officer during latest forest sweep

One activist is dead and an officer has been wounded during a recent police sweep of a forest in Atlanta that is planned to be razed for a $90 million police training facility, marking the first fatality in the fight against what’s being known as “Cop City.”

The individual killed has been identified as Manuel Teran, the Atlanta Community Press Collective, an activist organization, wrote in a Tweet. The group described the protester as “a beloved member of the community.”

“In our conversations with those that loved them, two words consistently came up: kind, and fierce,” the group said.

The protester died in what the Atlanta Police Department has described as a gunfire exchange, which occurred at about 9 a.m. on Wednesday, and the officer was wounded.

The site is home to the former Old Atlanta Prison Farm, notorious for the systemic abuse of those who were incarcerated there, and was abandoned decades ago. The Weelaunee Forest, where Cop City is planned to be constructed, is one of the last major green spaces in Atlanta.

The Press Collective said that officials continue to escalate the situation in vain.

“The loss of our lives remains meaningless to the police,” a statement published on the collective’s website reads.

“Police killed a forest defender for loving this earth, for taking a stand against the ongoing destruction of the planet and its people.” Ongoing demonstrations are planned in solidarity with forest protectors.

Demonstrators had been camped out near the center’s construction site outside the city as law enforcement agencies searched the area for people, a news release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation states.

At that point, police began issuing verbal commands to the protester, which officials say went ignored. That’s when police say that a man shot the officer. Police returned fire and struck the individual, who died at the scene.

Officials did not provide any identifying information for the deceased due to a pending next of kin notification. The trooper was transported to a local hospital where he underwent surgery and is now in stable condition. His identity has also not been revealed.

Four other protesters were arrested at the site and taken to DeKalb County Jail, roughly 12 miles from Downtown Atlanta, and might face charges for their actions, Michael Register, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said at a news conference.

Several protesters were also arrested a few weeks ago on domestic terrorism charges. The charge carries with it a potential jail sentence of up to 35 years.

Defend the Atlanta Forest, another activist organization, challenged the police narrative of the shooting in a Twitter post after the incident.

“We have reason to believe the officer shot today was hit by ‘friendly fire’ and not by the protester who was killed,” the group said. “Forest defenders on the ground say they heard a round of ~ 12 shots fired all at once around 9:04 a.m. this morning.

“This contradicts the back-and-forth shooting story pushed by police.”

The building of the facility has faced increasing opposition due to potential ecological destruction of Atlanta’s Tree Canopy, which acts as a stormwater management system and is home to migrating birds and wildlife, according to researchers at Georgia Tech and the Center for Geographic Information.

Activists continue to inhabit the area to prevent officials from bulldozing it.

The Reckon Report.
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