Protesters: Killing ‘Cop City’ Activist Makes No Sense

Tortuguita’s wary voice rang out for the first time from the platform amidst the tall pines. Vienna I met them: “Who’s going there?” She remembers them calling.

Choosing the nickname Tortuguita, which means “little turtle” in Spanish, rather than his name, this tree-dweller perched on the forest floor just outside. Atlanta last summer.

The Viennas quickly identified themselves, and Tortuguita’s cautiousness merged into the cheerful, curious, and funny persona many in the woods knew. Along with other self-proclaimed “foresters,” he helped her settle into an 85-acre (34-hectare) property that she plans to develop into a huge police and firefighter training center. protestor Call it derisively “Cop City”.

“It’s been a magical experience for me to be able to realize our ideals,” Wien told The Associated Press, explaining how protesters were distributing clothes, food and money while engaging in community activities. She and Tortuguita immediately fell in love during the warm days of late summer.

it was before. Prior to a Jan. 18 police operation that ended in a shooting, Tortuguita, 26, died and was hospitalized by a state trooper who shot him in the abdomen. Officials said the officer opened fire in self-defense after Tortuguita, whose real name is Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, shot him. Activists claim it was a state-sanctioned killing.

Anger over the event has galvanized leftists around the world, with mourning rallies taking place from Seattle to Chicago to London to Lützelath, Germany.

For years, environmentalists have urged authorities to turn the land into a park, arguing that tall, straight pines and oaks are essential to maintaining Atlanta’s tree canopy and minimizing flooding. I have urged you to

Wien, 25, recalls her first four months there as joyful. Her and Tortuguita tents housed campfires and overnight stays surrounded by extensive woodlands that activists call Whelownie Her Forest, the Muskogee (creek) name for the land.

City Council Approves $90 Million Atlanta Public Safety Training Center for 2021, State-of-the-Art Campus Replaces Substandard Offerings, Recruitment and Retention Following Violent Protests Against Racial Injustice It said it would boost the morale of the police, who have been plagued by the struggle. The city after George Floyd’s death in 2020.

The planned development, funded largely by private corporate donations, has infuriated activists. Cut down trees to build shooting ranges, “simulated villages” to rehearse raids, and driving courses to practice chases. In a city with one of the highest wealth inequalities in the country, he’s all heard in the poor, mostly black neighborhoods.

Like many who chose to live in the woods to oppose development, Tortuguita was an eco-anarchist who was instrumental in fighting climate change and stopping the spread of the police state, Wien said.

Beyond the mistrust that many in the Stop Cop City movement have about the police, six people who know Tortuguita speak. APs Authorities’ claims about the protesters’ last encounter do not match anyone they know.

“They were really generous and loving and always wanted to take care of people,” Wien said of her partner. She took a 20-hour course last year to become an activist health worker.

Daniel Esteban Paez, Tortuguita’s brother, said his brother grew long hair to donate to children with cancer.

Tortuguita is a “citizen of the earth”, having grown up not only in his home country of Venezuela, but also in Aruba, London, Russia, Egypt, Panama and the United States, with his stepfather’s career in the oil industry leading the family around the world. He graduated with honors from State University, worked with Food Not Bombs, and helped feed the homeless in Tallahassee, Florida.

They spent several months living among the “Stop Cop City” campers, a group that had a growing reputation among left-wing activists.

Campers built platforms in the trees to sleep and sought public support to stop construction. They have been accused of barricading forest entrances, threatening contractors and destroying heavy equipment.

Officials recently stepped up pressure. In December, authorities said firefighters and police were removing barricades to the scene when they were attacked with stones and incendiary bombs. Wien was one of six people charged with domestic terrorism after being arrested on suspicion of throwing rocks at fire and paramedics and a moving police car. She is fighting the charges in court.

Marlon Kautz of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, a group that provides legal assistance to those arrested, claimed the allegations were designed to scare others away from the cause.

“These charges are purely for the purpose of imprisoning activists and demonizing the movement in the public eye,” Kautz said. “When we see authorities using the criminal justice system to cool speech and prevent activists from engaging with the movement, it is a grave threat to democracy.”

DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston declined to comment on the specific facts of each case, but said, “When intimidation or violence is used to force a government agency to change policy, it is considered domestic terrorism. Defined. Georgia law.”

A month after an altercation with police in December, Tortuguita died and was killed when officers tried to clear the remaining protesters from the scene. Seven of his others were arrested on domestic terrorism charges during what authorities called a “mopping-up operation.”

of Georgia Bureau of Investigation It states there is no body camera or dash cam footage of the shooting, but its ballistic analysis indicates that the trooper was shot by a bullet from a handgun owned by Tortuguita.

The GBI said Tortuguita was inside the tent and disobeyed officers’ orders before opening fire on officials. When Wien was asked if he knew if his partner had a gun, he declined to comment.

Wien and other activists have questioned the official narrative of the incident, calling the shooting a “murder”, accusing authorities of inconsistent and vague narratives, and calling for an independent investigation. It says it has a “track record of impartiality” in investigating shootings it was involved in.

Violence and vandalism on Saturday as hundreds of masked contingents protesting in downtown Atlanta threw stones and aimed fireworks at the skyscraper housing the Atlanta Police Foundation. Activists then set the police car on fire and broke several more windows. No injuries have been reported.

Authorities said “explosives” had been recovered that night and arrested six more on charges including domestic terrorism. Asked if it was the fireworks or the more dangerous incendiary bombs, police declined to give details.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said at a press conference on Saturday, “Without a doubt, these individuals were meant to harm people.

In response, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency on Thursday, giving him the option to call in the Georgia National Guard to “quell riots and illegal gatherings.”

Paez, Tortuguita’s 31-year-old brother from Texas, says his family is heartbroken.

“Our family doesn’t want violence against officers, but we also don’t want violence from officers,” Paez told The Associated Press. It’s just scary to think that it will be reproduced in .

He resents claims that Tortuguita was a domestic terrorist. they were too kind. too clever I care too much.

Berquis Teran, Tortuguita’s mother in Panama, said, “He was a privileged person, but he chose to be with the homeless. He chose to be with people who needed his care.” I called.

For a long time Paez said he didn’t care about the fate of the forest. More than that, he was worried about Tortuguita’s safety.

“I told my brothers, ‘If you die, I’m going to dump oil and hazards in your stupid forest.'” “They called my bluff. I care about.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/ap-vienna-protesters-atlanta-georgia-bureau-of-investigation-b2271448.html Protesters: Killing ‘Cop City’ Activist Makes No Sense

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