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Protesters coming from afar to fight Ga. police training site

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 2:46 PM EDT
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ATLANTA (CBS46) - The Atlanta Police Department has released the names of the seven people arrested this week during a protest at the future site of a police training facility.

They were arrested Tuesday near the planned site Atlanta Police Foundation’s Public Safety Training Center in DeKalb County, according to the Atlanta Police Department. DeKalb Police and the Georgia State Patrol assisted the Atlanta Police Department with the arrests.

Atlanta police said the protesters threw what appeared to be Molotov cocktails and rocks at their officers during the incident. Fortunately, no one was injured.

“The action today was to remove some illegal structures that had been built on the site and on the property. While individuals were there. They were approached by persons that started throwing rocks started throwing rocks at the police officers, as well as the device that we believe to be a Molotov cocktail at the officers,” Assistant Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said.

A spokesperson for the department said many of the protesters at this protest and others are from other states. That would seem to be the case, based on who was arrested: 28-year-old Phillip A. Flagg of Worchester, Mass.; 38-year-old Lee Ana-Gypsy of Gainesville; 24-year-old Elizabeth Hoitt-Lange of Sea Cliff, N.Y.; 27-year-old Erin Brault of Sykesville, Md.; 28-year-old Madeleine Kodat of Philadelphia; and 23-year-old Abigail E. Skapyak of Minneapolis.

“There has been a number of concerted efforts to stop the Public Safety Training Center by committing criminal acts here in Atlanta, into Cobb County in Birmingham, Alabama, and other states. And we appreciate the Federal Bureau of Investigation joining this investigation to stop these attempts of intimidation to stop these criminal acts for this public safety training center,” Schierbaum said.

Opponents to the training facility, which is scheduled to be built on the old Prison Farm site near South River Forest in southeast Atlanta, say it will destroy hundreds of acres of Atlanta’s largest urban forest. In addition to protests at the site, protesters have also been camping out in the forest for several months.

Protesters have also gathered outside of individuals’ homes associated with the project — and people thought to be with the project.

Homes like the one where the Underwood family is living in Dawsonville.

When the family dog seemed to be alerting the family Monday morning, Joe Underwood went to look around the home, searching for signs of an attempted robbery.

The graffiti phrases on the side of his home – “stop cop city,” “trees not cops” or “protect ATL forest” – all seemed foreign. The family was both confused and afraid.

It was later that the dots began connecting.

“We don’t have anything to do with this forest and cop city and this training facility they’re building,” he said.

However, the Dawsonville family lives in a home that once belonged to Dodd Drilling. The company is reportedly involved in the city’s project according to demonstrators who said machines with its logo were seen at the site. Online records still she the company’s address as the family’s home.

“We’ve always known Dodd Drilling is associated with this house,” Underwood said. “They always get their mail here. But they no longer own this house. They sold it. We’re renting the house from another company.”

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