But while they are have been hard at work, zealously fighting to stop Cop City, 61 people have been indicted on racketeering, aka RICO, charges following a state investigation into protests against the project.
Republican Attorney General Chris Carr, who referred to the defendants as “militant activists,” may have over reached though with RICO charges, which is apparently gaining momentum in the state, as Fulton County prosecutor Fani Willis leveled RICO charges against former President Donald Trump and his 18 co-defendants. She also charged several suspected members of YSL with similar charges.
Opponents fear the training center will lead to greater militarization of the police, and that its construction in an urban forest will exacerbate environmental damage in a poor, majority-Black area.
“The 61 defendants together have conspired to prevent the construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center by conducting, coordinating and organizing acts of violence, intimidation and property destruction,” Carr said during a news conference Tuesday.
In linking the defendants to the alleged conspiracy, prosecutors have made a huge series of allegations. Those include everything from possessing fire accelerant and throwing Molotov cocktails at police officers, to being reimbursed for glue and food for activists who spent months camping in the woods near the construction site.
Opponents of the planned police training center are concerned that it will facilitate police militarization and that its location is a threat to the environment and disadvantaged Black people in nearby communities.
The proposed building site is also the site where a young protestor was shot and killed by a Georgia State Trooper. Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, also known as Tortuguita, was a Venezuelan environmental activist and eco-anarchist who was shot and killed by a Georgia State Patrol trooper after an officer was wounded in the leg during a raid of the Stop Cop City encampment on January 18, 2023. However on April 20, 2023 a Dekalb County medical examiner revealed that Teran was shot 57 times with wounds in his head, torso, hands and legs.