Breaking News: 61 Stop Cop City activists indicted with RICO charges in Georgia

61 individuals have been indicted in Georgia on racketeering charges following a lengthy state investigation into protests against a proposed police and firefighter training facility known as “Cop City” in the Atlanta region.

The defendants, labeled as “militant anarchists” by Attorney General Chris Carr, are accused of supporting a violent movement connected to the widespread racial justice protests of 2020.

This indictment marks the most recent use of the state’s anti-racketeering law, commonly known as a RICO law. Notably, former President Donald Trump and 18 others were also charged under this law by the Fulton County prosecutor.

Over the course of more than two years, the “Stop Cop City” movement has occasionally devolved into vandalism and violence. The training center’s opponents worry that it will increase police militarization and that its construction in an urban forest will exacerbate environmental damage in a poor, largely Black neighborhood.

Following the death of Tortuguita, a 26-year-old protester who was fatally shot in January, demonstrations against a training facility have escalated into violence. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation claims state troopers fired in self-defense, as Paez Terán allegedly opened fire on them while they were removing protesters from a nearby wooded area. However, the lack of body cameras on the troopers has raised concerns and activists are questioning the official version of events.

The 85-acre, $90 million facility, according to Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and others, would replace subpar training facilities and help with issues with hiring and retaining police officers that grew after widespread demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice. Following the police killings of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta in June 2020 and George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020, protests broke out. Those incidents occurred months before the proposed training center was made public.

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