According to Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Christian, Georgia state troopers will not face charges for the fatal shooting of environmental activist Manuel Paez Terán. Christian deemed the troopers’ use of deadly force against Paez Terán, 26, as “objectively reasonable.” The incident occurred during an enforcement operation at a site where protestors were camping out in opposition to the construction of a police and firefighter training facility, known as “Cop City,” near Atlanta.
Authorities reported that Paez Terán, also known as Tortuguita, refused to exit a tent when ordered by the troopers. In response, the troopers used a pepper ball launcher to compel him to evacuate. Paez Terán allegedly fired a handgun four times, prompting six troopers to return fire, resulting in his death.
Questions surrounding Paez Terán’s death have emerged, particularly after Atlanta police body camera footage captured an officer questioning whether they had shot their own colleague. Paez Terán’s family commissioned an autopsy, which revealed that he was shot 14 times and died with his hands raised.
Brian Spears, an attorney representing Paez Terán’s family, expressed “extreme disappointment” with the prosecutor’s report, describing it as a “rubber stamp” of the officials’ account without critical analysis. Belkis Terán, the activist’s mother, criticized the court’s decision to withhold additional information, stating that they have been waiting eight months for the truth.
The prosecutor’s decision not to press charges against the Georgia state troopers has sparked further debate and raised concerns among Paez Terán’s family and supporters, who are seeking more transparency and answers regarding the incident.