Weelaunee Forest defender Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran opposed to “Cop City” shot dead by Georgia police
Photo from Unicorn Riot.
A 26-year-old forest defender named Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran has been killed by Georgia police southeast of Atlanta.
Truthout reports: “An activist was shot and killed by police on Wednesday [January 18] during a violent raid of the protest camp and community gathering space that has blocked construction of an enormous police training facility known as ‘Cop City’ on roughly 100 acres of public forest.”
Their article adds: “The Georgia Bureau of Investigation initially said a suspect was shot and killed after allegedly firing a gun and injuring a Georgia state trooper during the raid, but fellow protesters and community activists doubt the official narrative and are calling on journalists and legal observers to investigate.”
Common Dreams adds: “Police accountability advocates on Thursday [January 19] called for an independent investigation after an activist was shot and killed during a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement raid on a forest encampment blocking the construction of a massive police training center just outside Atlanta popularly known as Cop City.”
Jeff Ordower, North America director at the climate action group 350.org, says: “With heavy hearts, we stand with the Atlanta Forest Defenders and all of those who defend the land, the water, and the planet.”
Ordower adds: “Tortuguita’s ‘crime’ was defending a forest in the heart of Atlanta—yet police moved in full force to evict the encampment, using their usual litany of brutal tactics. As we’ve seen all too often with police brutality, we can expect the usual false claims of ‘self-defense,’ coupled with an attempt to smear the victim and movement. Our movement will continue to stand up for intersectional justice—for the people and the planet.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also reports: “At least 13 people [have now been] accused of domestic terrorism — weighty charges that carry possible sentences of 35 years in prison — in connection with protests against the Atlanta training center and occupation of the proposed site.”
Organizer-writer-lawyer Kamau Franklin, the founder of the Atlanta-based organization Community Movement Builders, has explained: “The Atlanta Police Foundation, the Atlanta Police Department and the City of Atlanta plan to destroy nearly 100 acres of forest to erect a domestic version of a military base in the heart of a working-class Black community.”
“The plans for this ‘Cop City’ include military-grade training facilities, a mock city to practice urban warfare, explosives testing areas, dozens of shooting ranges and a Black Hawk helicopter landing pad. This police training facility for the Atlanta police is a prototype of militarized police centers in the country.”
He further notes: “The idea of ‘Cop City’ came after the uprisings in 2020 when the police-perpetrated murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and here in Atlanta, Rashad Brooks, began a new call for defunding and/or abolishing the police.”
For more on this, you can watch today’s Democracy Now! interview with Franklin at Atlanta Police Kill Forest Defender at Protest Encampment Near Proposed “Cop City” Training Center.
You can also find more on Defend the Atlanta Forest on Twitter.