Metro Democratic lawmakers want DOJ investigation into protestor’s death

The Atlanta Public Training Center has been the center of controversy for many months.
The autopsy report on the death of a protestor at the future site of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center has been released, according to DeKalb County Me
Published: May. 1, 2023 at 12:24 PM EDT|Updated: May. 2, 2023 at 8:29 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Six metro Democratic lawmakers are calling for a federal investigation into the fatal shooting of a protestor at the controversial Atlanta Public Safety Training Center now under development.

In an April 26, 2023, letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, the lawmakers said the autopsy report regarding the Jan. 18, 2023, shooting of Manuel “Tortuguita” Esteban Paez Teran “raises questions that warrant an independent investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

“On background, I can confirm we received the letter,” Department of Justice officials confirmed to Atlanta News First on Tuesday.

“We believe it is essential that a credible investigation be conducted that gathers and releases the necessary information to ensure public confidence in the investigatory and law enforcement process,” the lawmakers wrote. “As such, we respectfully request that the U.S. Department of Justice conduct a thorough independent investigation into the persistent pattern of misconduct within state law enforcement agencies, including but not limited to the January 18, 2023 incident.”

The letter was signed by state Sens. Nabilah Islam (Lawrenceville), Jason Esteves (Atlanta), and Nan Orrock (Atlanta); and state Reps. Ruwa Romman (Duluth); Jasmine Clark (Lilburn); and Kim Schofield (Atlanta).

Teran’s autopsy report showed he had at least 57 gunshot wounds. A previous private autopsy report released in February said that Teran was shot “at least 13 times.”

The Atlanta Public Training Center has been the center of controversy for many months. Critics and protesters claim the southwest Atlanta location of the so-called “Cop City” will lead to increased police brutality in Black communities surrounding the Weelaunee Forest and bring environmental destruction to ancestral lands.

The Atlanta City Council voted last September to lease the land to the Atlanta Police Foundation to build the 85-acre center. Activists and protesters say they would like to preserve the old Prison Farm site as a public green space.