The decade's most triggering comedy
An evening of fire and violence at the future site of a police training center in Atlanta on Sunday led to the arrests of 35 people, according to authorities.
Police said a group of “violent agitators” wearing all-black “used the cover of a peaceful protest” and conducted a “coordinated attack” at the construction area of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, which critics have dubbed “Cop City.”
People launched fireworks and threw large rocks, bricks, and Molotov cocktails during the clash, said police, and some construction equipment caught fire.
During a Sunday night press conference, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said most of the people who were detained appear to be from outside of the Atlanta area and will face the appropriate charges.
“This was about anarchy,” Schierbaum said.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said some of the people who were arrested on Sunday were from Massachusetts, New York, France, and Canada. “So this is a national network, an international group of people that are organized to come to our state to undermine a public safety training center,” he added during a Monday morning appearance on Fox News.
Atlanta police shared surveillance video of the construction site showing people running around and what appears to be fireworks going off near police officers.
Schierbaum said no officers were injured during the clashes. He also said the FBI and Georgia Bureau of Investigation are assisting with investigative efforts.
More footage of the group of violent agitators used the cover of a peaceful protest of the proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. pic.twitter.com/ewtDRf130G
— Atlanta Police Department (@Atlanta_Police) March 6, 2023
Officers “exercised restraint” and used non-lethal enforcement to conduct arrests, police said.
In a statement, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said the rioters “chose destruction and vandalism over legitimate protest, yet again demonstrating the radical intent behind their actions.”
The Republican added that “domestic terrorism will NOT be tolerated in this state,” and pledged, “We will not rest until those who use violence and intimidation for an extremist end are brought to full justice.”
The unrest Sunday night marks another crescendo in the clashes with law enforcement by anti-police demonstrators and environmentalists after the $90 million training center was approved by the Atlanta City Council in 2021 and construction began in a forested area, according to the Associated Press.
One 26-year-old activist, identified as Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, was fatally shot by law enforcement in January. Authorities said he had shot and injured a Georgia state trooper, but Paez Teran’s family expressed doubts and demanded further transparency.