Peaceful protest ends in chaos as property damage, fires set in downtown Atlanta

Protestors who caused damage in Downtown Atlanta targeted businesses that financially support the Atlanta Police Foundation. That’s according to an organization called ‘Stop Cop City’.

Members of that group were present at a protest Saturday when some demonstrators began marching downtown.

Atlanta Police Department said three businesses were damaged Saturday evening. Among them, Truist and Wells Fargo banks on John Portman Blvd. NW and Peachtree Street.

Near that same intersection, an Atlanta Police Department SUV was set on fire.

Police say no officers or citizens were hurt.

Deandre Williams happened to be at the busy intersection as it happened and told WSB what he saw.

“I saw people throwing objects into the police car,” said Williams. “Then, two to three minutes later, I saw them throwing objects, throwing projectiles into the building.”

Channel 2 Action News Courtney Francisco was at the initial demonstration at Underground Atlanta that began at 5:00 Saturday evening.

People gathered to protest the City of Atlanta’s plan to build a police and fire training center on a wooded piece of property in Dekalb County.

Plus, they said they want to see law enforcement body camera footage of the deadly operation to remove demonstrators who were camping out on that land.

Manuel Teran died when officers shot them.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is overseeing the investigation into the officer-involved shooting and argued Teran shot a Georgia State Patrol Trooper first. Detectives said that caused other officers to fire back and kill Teran.

One protestor, Bill Aiman, spoke before some branched off to march.

“I’ll be frank about it. The police lie. They’ve lied time and time again, and I think we need transparency in this matter to see what happened,” said Aiman.

By 6:00 Saturday evenings some of the group started marching downtown. That’s where the destruction began at the intersection of Ellis St. and Peachtree St.

Before 7:00 pm, protestors had scattered, police had blocked off parts of downtown for crime scene documentation and firefighters had finished extinguishing the burning police cruiser.

Earlier this week, GBI told WSB body camera video does not exist because Troopers do not wear them.

Friday, GBI released a photo of a handgun that the agency said was Teran’s. A spokesperson said forensic ballistic analysis confirmed the projectile recovered from the trooper’s wound matches that gun.

Stop Cop City organizers issued this statement:

“What is the proper reaction to police killing Manuel " Tortuguita” Esteban Paez Teran? Destruction of material is fundamentally different from the violence that led to extinguishing someone’s light. We are seeing what we have seen across the country, a community in grief seeking accountability against the financial backers and goons of the Atlanta Police Foundation, a shady nonprofit that funnels weapons and military gear into our city to wage war on Black, Indigenous, Brown, and poor folks in the community. The police have evoked violence when they raided the forest for over 7 months, destroying material by trashing camps and water supplies and threatening the lives of forest defenders. It seems the community is trying to disable the economic machine of the Atlanta Police Foundation that seeks to sterilize all life within the Weelaunee Forest to protect the community they love from further violence.”





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