Incident report released in death of Manuel Teran, family responds

The redacted report includes testimony from multiple officers.
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 6:05 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The incident report in the death of a protestor at the future site of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center has been released.

Manuel Teran was killed at the site, which critics call “Cop City,” when Georgia State Patrol Troopers were clearing the site Jan. 18.

The redacted report includes testimony from multiple officers. The narratives include certain similarities.

The testimonies claim that the officers approached Teran peacefully and gave them orders to leave a tent “in a calm and controlled manner” and advised them they were under arrest for criminal trespass. Teran refused, saying “I want you to leave.” Other occupants of the forest had surrendered peacefully earlier in the day.

Police say a trooper fired pepper balls in and near Teran’s tent, which prompted the activist to return fire, striking one trooper. Police then opened fire on Teran’s tent, killing them.

One officer claimed to use a flash bang on the tent after Teran had stopped shooting. The troopers then cleared the tent, finding Teran’s body. A handgun was found near Teran’s body.

Officers reported not knowing how many rounds they fired; an independent autopsy claimed that Teran had been shot 13 times.

Teran’s family released the following statement:

“The incident reports released today by the Georgia Department of Public Safety reveal that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) conceived of, planned, and led the operation that resulted in the death of Manuel Paez Teran. The GBI is investigating its own tragic operation. The family calls upon the GBI to explain what steps it has taken to preserve the integrity of its investigation of its own operation.

The officer narratives released today by the Department of Public Safety were drafted weeks or, in some cases, months after the incident. When officers drafted these statements, each had the opportunity to review the publicly available video and the press releases issued by the GBI. As the GBI has acknowledged, “memory and perception are fragile,” and outside factors can influence witness statements.

The family urges the GBI to release all witness interviews taken in the immediate aftermath of the shooting and all forensic evidence it has obtained.

These incident reports reveal that officers were fed a steady supply of hearsay and vague generalities about ‘domestic terrorists’ before entering the forest. It is clear that all law enforcement regarded any person in the forest as guilty of being a domestic terrorist. The family calls on all law enforcement agencies to produce the evidence relied upon to broadly designate those who oppose Cop City as domestic terrorists. The public must be reassured that the designation of domestic terrorist is not being abused as a means of stifling dissent and chilling protected speech.”

You can read the entire incident report below.


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