Slain Cop City Activist Remembered Amidst APD Calls for More Arrests

One year after the killing of 26-year-old Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, a protester shot and killed by Georgia State Troopers at a campground near the site of the controversial Cop City Training Center in 2023, opponents of the nearly completed project continue to call for justice for the slain activist.
Teran, 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.
Conflicting reports from medical examiners have determined that Teran was shot multiple times from multiple guns. The official autopsy conducted by the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office said Teran was shot 13 times by multiple different guns. 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.

The family’s independent autopsy report concluded Teran’s hands were raised and facing multiple individuals at the time of the shooting.

“Both Manuel’s left and right hands show exit wounds in both palms. The autopsy further reveals that Manuel was most probably in a seated position, cross-legged when killed,” the family’s attorney expressed in a release in March 2023.

The killing of Manuel Teran is unprecedented in the history of environmental activism. Keith Woodhouse, professor of history at Northwestern University, said, “Killings of environmental activists by the state are depressingly common in other countries like Brazil, Honduras, and Nigeria, but this has never happened in the U.S.”
A Stone Mountain, Georgia judge ruled that none of the Georgia State Troopers involved in the killing of Manuel Teran would face charges in the killing.
Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney George R. Christian released a statement detailing the findings of his investigation on Oct. 6. “The use of lethal (deadly) force by the Georgia State Patrol was objectively reasonable under the circumstances of this case,” Christian wrote. “No criminal charges will be brought against the Georgia State Patrol Troopers involved in the shooting of Manuel Perez Teran.”
Jimmy Hill, father of Jimmy Atchinson who was shot and killed four years ago, by Atlanta police officer Sung Kim, said in an earlier interview that the killing of the young protestor reminds him of his own personal police-related tragedy. Atchison was unarmed when he was shot in the face after a foot chase with Kim.
“When I think of [Tortuguita], and I saw that they were on their knees, I think about my son, who received [contradictory commands] and was killed.”
The highly controversial Cop City police training facility many Atlantans are concerned will militarize police and result in more police brutality and slayings of Black and Brown residents, continues to be the site of protests against the facility which is nearly 75 percent complete. 
The 85-acre project, which had an original construction cost of $90 million is now expected to cost $109.65 million, up nearly $20 million due to increased security and insurance costs caused by the conflicts Atlanta Deputy Chief Operating Officer LaChandra Burkes told City Council members on Wednesday, Jan. 18.

Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum also stated on Wednesday, that more than 450 billboards will go up this week in Atlanta and other major cities to advertise rewards of up to $200,000 for information in finding arson suspects protesting the training center. 


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