Special prosecutor set to be assigned to training center shooting
DeKalb County DA recused her office from the investigation
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - UPDATE: The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has released the following statement:
“We are aware that DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston has recused herself from the January 18, 2023 officer involved shooting (OIS) case involving Manuel Esteban Paez Teran and a Georgia State Patrol trooper. A special prosecutor will be assigned by the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council to review our findings related to this case. In the past decade, the GBI has investigated numerous OIS cases for local and state law enforcement. Our track record of impartiality precedes this January 18 incident. The GBI and Georgia State Patrol are two separate agencies. As in every officer involved shooting investigation, our procedure is to gather information concerning OIS events and turn the investigative file over to the prosecutor in the jurisdiction the event occurred for their review and action.
Since the investigation began, we have been able to connect the handgun found at the scene by various means to Teran, who shot the trooper during the clearing operation.
We will continue to work with the Georgia Attorney General’s Office and the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office in reference to the ongoing domestic terrorism investigation.”
ORIGINAL STORY: In a press conference on Wednesday, DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston announced she recused her office from the shooting investigation at the future Atlanta Public Safety Training Center that left a protester dead and state trooper injured.
“I hope that what this instills with protestors on the ground is that this will get a full, fair, and impartial and independent look which I think is important for our community and for everyone that is mourning the death of Manuel,” said Boston, at a press conference on Wednesday. “The overreaching reasoning for my refusal is that it is simply the right thing to do.”
Boston said she referred the case to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council to designate a conflict proseuctor to oversee any potential charges to those involved.
A spokesperson for PAC confirmed they were referred the case from DeKalb County on Tuesday. They added in an email to Atlanta News First:
“On January 24, 2023, we received a request pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-18-5 from the District Attorney for the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit asking for a conflict prosecutor to be appointed in a matter. It was one of 32 such requests that we have received this year from prosecutors around the State and the 16th we have received this week. Until a conflict prosecutor is appointed to handle that matter, we have no further information to provide at this time,” said a spokesperson for the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia.
A spokesperson for Attorney General’s Office confirmed to Atlanta News First they are seeking to prosecute 18 people for domestic terrorism who are all connected to the movement to stop the development of the future Atlanta Public Safety Training Center.
The state Attorney General has never indicted a person for domestic terrorism, said the spokesperson.
The shooting happened on Feb. 18 near Constitution Road and Bouldercrest Road near Moreland Avenue.
According to officials, officers and Georgia State Patrol troopers were conducting a clearing operation near the area when a protestor disobeyed verbal commands, then allegedly opened fire on officers and troopers. Law enforcement returned fire killing 26-year-old Manuel Esteban Paez Terán.
The trooper who was shot in the abdomen was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital.
During a press conference, Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed the shooting was related to growing controversy around the police training facility.
Critics of the training facility, coined “Cop City,” argue that the southwest Atlanta location will lead to increased police brutality in Black communities surrounding the Weelaunee Forest and bring environmental destruction to ancestral lands.
Days following the incident, six people were arrested on domestic terrorism charges after hundreds of protesters took to downtown streets in response to Teran’s death.
Among those arrested were 22-year-old Madeleine Feola, 24-year-old Nadja Grier, 22-year-old Francis Carrol, and 37-year-old Emily Murphy. Each was denied bond because they were from out of state.
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.
Local advocates defended demonstrators, calling into question the severity of the charges issued.
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