Georgia Police Will Not Face Charges for Killing ‘Cop City’ Protester

Georgia Police Will Not Face Charges for Killing ‘Cop City’ Protester

Georgia State Police officers involved in the fatal shooting of activist Manuel Esteban Paez Teran during a protest against the construction of the ‘Cop City’ police training facility in Atlanta will not face criminal charges, according to state prosecutors. The decision comes after months of protests from civil rights and environmental activists who expressed concerns over the state’s increasing police presence and the destruction of a densely forested area for the facility.

Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Christian stated that the officers’ use of deadly force was deemed “objectively reasonable under the circumstances.” The investigation by the state Bureau of Investigation also concluded that no charges would be brought against any of the nine officers involved, with two officers not firing their weapons.

The shooting occurred in January during a police operation to identify trespassers on the construction site. While state officials claimed that Teran was killed after returning fire with a 9-millimeter pistol, an independent autopsy revealed that Teran’s hands were raised at the time of the shooting.

The ‘Cop City’ facility lease agreement was approved in September 2021 by former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, allocating over 85 acres in the Weelaunee Forest for the Atlanta Police Foundation. The decision sparked protests due to environmental concerns and fears of police escalation.

Following Teran’s killing, six activists were arrested on arson and domestic terrorism charges. In March, an additional 35 protesters were arrested after allegedly trespassing onto the construction site and engaging in violent acts. Governor Brian Kemp declared a temporary state of emergency and deployed 1,000 state National Guard troops.

Environmental activists argue that the $90 million facility will devastate the region’s largest green space and remove a natural filtration system for air pollution. They also express concerns about the potential militarization of the city’s police force and highlight the project’s connection to nationwide protests against systemic racism.

Author: CrimeDoor

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