Police restrict public’s access to site of Georgia ‘Cop City’

Police clearing Intrenchment Creek Park
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 2:06 PM EDT
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ATLANTA - Law enforcement agencies are restricting access to the site of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center in DeKalb County, the location of a deadly showdown between police and a protester.

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond issued an executive order on March 24 restricting public access to the site of “Cop City” due to the discovery of “hidden traps or other devices designed to injure, maim, or cause the death of adults, children, and pets.”

Some of the pictures taken by police showed wooden boards with spikes in them along with other makeshift devices that officials consider life-threatening hazards.

The site has been the focus of protests by environmental activists trying to stop the center from opening.

Protester Manuel Teran was killed there when Georgia State Patrol troopers were clearing the site Jan. 18.

Manuel "Tortugita" Teran
Manuel "Tortugita" Teran(Gabe Eisen)

The Atlanta City Council approved building the proposed $90 million Atlanta Public Safety Training Center in 2021, saying a state-of-the-art campus would replace substandard offerings and boost police morale, which is beset by hiring and retention struggles in the wake of violent protests against racial injustice that roiled the city after George Floyd was killed by police in 2020.

Environmental activists have been opposed to the facility.

A few protests have turned violent, including earlier this month when more than 150 masked activists left a nearby music festival and stormed the proposed site of the training center, setting fire to construction equipment and throwing rocks at retreating law enforcement officers.

Protesters have questioned officials’ assertion that officers shot Teran in self-defense after the 26-year-old shot a trooper.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation continues to examine the shooting and has released few details about the incident, other than to say that preliminary evidence supports authorities’ assertions and that the trooper was shot with a bullet from a gun Paez legally purchased in 2020.

Officers claim they approached Teran peacefully and gave the protester orders to leave a tent “in a calm and controlled manner.” 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 Teran.

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.

Read the entire incident report below: