Out-of-state activists fueling training center protests, KSU prof says

Almost 20 people have been arrested since last May over the site, but only three have been from Georgia
Almost 20 people have been arrested since last May over the site, but only three have been from Georgia.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 3:48 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2023 at 4:50 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The violent protests that occurred this weekend over the proposed Atlanta Police Training Center are stemming from a decentralized movement that is spanning the nation.

“You’re going to bring people who may have anti-government fringe politics, anti-authority that are also nested within this far left space that are going to be interested in this movement,” according to Michael Logan, a Kennesaw State University professor who specializes in counter-terrorism and left-wing extremism.

Six people were arrested Saturday evening on domestic terrorism and other charges after hundreds of protesters took to downtown streets in response to Manuel Teran’s death, who was shot at the future site of the Atlanta police training facility.

Since May 2022, 19 demonstrators protesting the site have been arrested, but so far, only three have been from Georgia. Activists are being deployed to now live in the forested area around the proposed site, which has come to known as Cop City.

Cop City: A timeline of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center

“They’re very dedicated to the movement,” Logan said, “if you’re willing to engage in tree sitting for months long.”

A shooting near the site of a future police training facility has cast new light on the controversial development.

Since the majority of the protestors are not from metro Atlanta, Logan believes that aspect of the protests could dilute the group’s messaging.

RELATED: Police release names of 6 people arrested in Atlanta protests

“Do you have enough individuals within the area willing to go long term within this space” he asked. “That might be the issue they’re running into.”

Logan said the Stop Cop City movement relies on “individualist ideology,” meaning ”they’re very decentralized.”

RELATED: Trooper hospitalized, one person dead after shooting at future site of police training facility

Funds and resources are coming from online crowd sourcing, calling on everything from money to manpower. Online fliers are also being distributed calling for “anarchists” nationwide to come to Atlanta.

A variety of the Stop Cop City and Defend the Forest websites said they are made up of “doctors, teachers and students against demolition of the tree acreage and in favor of demilitarizing and decreasing police presence.”

An organization called the Atlanta Solidarity Fund is helping with bail for those arrested.