The controversial proposed police and firefighter training facility in Atlanta colloquially known as Cop City is back in the public consciousness. Two years of protests have already resulted in the death of at least one protestor under suspicious circumstances.
The state of Georgia indicted 61 protesters and organizers on racketeering and domestic terrorism charges using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). In the indictment Georgia’s attorney general called the efforts of social justice advocates a conspiracy to “prevent the construction of Atlanta Public Safety Training Center” through “coordinating and organizing acts of violence, intimidation and property destruction.” Incidents in January and March, after protestors destroyed a police vehicle, then forced police out of a construction site and destroyed construction equipment, have been the catalyst for the domestic terrorism charges.
This is concerning for Stop Cop City organizers, as widespread use of the RICO Act is happening despite the Associated Press reporting that Atlanta prosecutors are having trouble connecting all the protesters arrested with the violence that has occurred. Also, organizers who raised funds for bail and lawyers for protestors were charged with money laundering.
These charges have some strong implications for Stop Cop City protestors, as the ability to effectively organize is being blocked by the state of Georgia. With uncertain evidence being used for domestic terrorism prosecutions and nonviolent protestors being killed, Atlanta-based protestors are still in an uphill battle to have their voices truly heard by the state.