What’s next for ‘Stop Cop City’ movement after weekend vandalism

Six arrested demonstrators make first appearance in Superior Court
“To me, the answer is not in more training, not in better-built facilities for the police. The answer is what are the alternatives for public safety."
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 11:20 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - On Monday, six demonstrators who were arrested over the weekend made their first appearance in Fulton County Superior Court.

22-year-old Madeleine Feola, 24-year-old Nadja Grier, 22-year-old Francis Carrol, and 37-year-old Emily Murphy were all denied bond because they were from out of state.

“These offenses were of a violent nature, which makes him clearly a danger to the community,” argued the prosecuting attorney for the state.

All six were charged with a felony charge of domestic terrorism, along with felony charges of interference with government property, first-degree arson, and second-degree criminal damage.

23-year-old Ivan Ferguson and 20-year-old Graham Evatt were granted $350,000 and $450,000 bonds, due to their ties to the state and not a flight risk.

Evatt, from Decatur, was ordered 24-hour house arrest except for school, work, church or court.

“Then everybody ran, except for him. That’s why he got arrested. There is no evidence that he committed any vandalism,” said Evatt’s attorney, in a virtual hearing on Monday.

Local advocates defended demonstrators and called into question the severity of the charges issued.

“I truly think it’s a way to criminalize the movement against Cop City,” said Kamau Franklin, founder of Community Movement Builders.

Franklin said he wasn’t surprised to see tensions escalate on Saturday when police said demonstrators burned three police units and vandalized several businesses.

“The fact that the City Council and the mayor would shove this [public safety training center] down the throats of the people of Atlanta means there will be more protests. There will be more demonstrations. We are not done being activists and organizers,” said Franklin.

Franklin said advocates will focus in on the developers, financiers, and contractors of the $90 million training center.

“We by no means think this is a point where we need to give up and we need to stop,” said Franklin.

On Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp commended the quick action of law enforcement officers in arresting those involved in the riots on Saturday.

“Law enforcement demonstrated how quickly we shut down those trying to import violence from other states, and we’ll continue to do so,” said Kemp.

Franklin said state officials are overly concerned with what demonstrators did on Saturday, and not why they did it.

“To me, the answer is not in more training, not in better-built facilities for the police. The answer is what are the alternatives for public safety,” said Franklin.