This week, Republican Attorney General Chris Carr announced a RICO against 61 people who allegedly protesting the construction of the police and training center known as “Cop City.”
The indictment claimed that the defendants are “militant anarchists” who conspired to support a violent movement against the government.
RICO convictions can carry a harsh sentences and penalties.
However, there has been push back over the language used in the indictment and the creating of a narrative that suggests the conspiracy began on the day of George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020.
Andrea Young, Executive Director of ACLU, spoke with ADW to discuss the indictment. She spoke about the indictments attempt to connect George Floyd protestors to the “Cop City” protests. For reference, most of the “Cop City” protests occurred about one year after the height of the George Floyd protests.
“We have been repeatedly speaking out about the state’s repressive response to people who are exercising their First Amendment right to protest,” Young said in an interview with ADW. “We oppose the domestic terrorism statute that the state of Georgia passed. We are certainly outraged that something like Black Lives Matter and George Floyd protests would be referenced in the indictment. George Floyd protests occurred all over the state of Georgia and were overwhelmingly peaceful. In this indictment, it’s referenced as something that was a criminal conspiracy. I think this is another indication of a political party using its power to intimidate people and suppress legitimate dissent.”
Another intriguing factor is the location of where the indictment is being handled. Although “Cop City” would be constructed in Fulton and DeKalb Counties, the indictment takes place in Fulton County.
DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston decided to remove her office from the investigation in June 2023.
“Recent conversations between those agencies have revealed a fundamental difference in prosecutorial philosophy,” Boston said in an issued statement.
Young responded to Boston’s decision to remove the DeKalb County D.A. office from the investigation.
“It’s really shocking when you see the activists who are included and referenced in this indictment,” Young said. “Sherry Boston, who’s the elected District Attorney in DeKalb County, pulled out of working with the Attorney General. She simply could not support and be complicit in this approach to suppressing dissent.”
Young believes the RICO charges are an overstep of authority.
“We now understand just how far the Attorney General is willing to go to suppress dissent and intimidate people who are expressing their views,” she said. “This whole idea that you would include Black Lives Matter protests just reeks of white supremacy. It’s really shocking.”