Family home ‘wrongfully targeted,’ Atlanta PD protestors accused

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 5:52 PM EDT|Updated: May. 18, 2022 at 6:16 PM EDT
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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. (CBS46) - Metro Atlanta officials said protestors against the new police training facility have gone too far and one local family agrees after finding their home “wrongfully” vandalized.

“My dog... he started barking about 2 a.m.,” said Joe Underwood, whose family resides in Dawsonville.

When the family dog seemed to be alerting the Underwoods Monday morning, Joe went to look around the home, searching for signs of an attempted robbery.

The dad says something far greater was stolen: feelings of security.

“It’s kind of scary,” Underwood explained. “I worry about my wife and daughter.”

The graffiti phrases on the side of his home -- “stop cop city,” “trees not cops” or “protect ATL forest” -- all seemed foreign. The family was both confused and afraid.

It was later, during CBS46′s Tuesday afternoon coverage, that the dots began connecting.

An hour away from Dawsonville, protests against the new Atlanta Police Department (APD) training facility were happening.

APD said the protestors threw Molotov cocktails at them. Seven arrests were made and investigators have confirmed none of the protestors have Atlanta home addresses. They added only one had a Georgia home address.

Demonstrators are arguing construction would replace too much of the forest, and also claim more policing is not the answer.

But neither is vandalism, Underwood said. “We don’t have anything to do with this forest and cop city and this training facility they’re building,” he said.

However, the Dawsonville family lives in a home that once belonged to Dodd Drilling, CBS46 was able to confirm. The company is reportedly involved in the city’s project according to demonstrators who said machines with its logo were seen at the site. CBS46 found that online records still populate the company’s address with the family’s home.

“We’ve always known Dodd Drilling is associated with this house,” Underwood said. “They always get their mail here. But they no longer own this house. They sold it. We’re renting the house from another company.”

After reaching out to CBS46, the family contacted the Defend the Forest organization. The Facebook messages appear to show the protest group acknowledging its responsible, adding the Underwood’s home was “wrongfully targeted.”

But the damage, quite literally, is already done.

“If they’ll do that, what else will they do,” Underwood said. “If they’ll drive over an hour to vandalize a house, they’re capable of anything.”

“There is a little fear there, but I will protect my family and use any force that is necessary to protect my family,” he said.

There are multiple investigations across law enforcement agencies related to protestors. The family filed a report with Dawson County Sheriff’s Office.

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