The PAC, meanwhile, has filled such as role before. Most notably, special prosecutors declined to pursue charges against the Atlanta officers involved in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks.
“I hope that what this will instill with protesters on the ground is that this will get a full, fair, impartial and independent look, which I think is important for our community and for everyone that is mourning Manuel,” she said during a press conference.
Activists and other groups have questioned the official narrative of the shooting and called for an independent investigation.
Boston’s decision, to be clear, does not create such an investigation. The GBI confirmed later Wednesday that it would carry on with its investigation.
“In the past decade, the GBI has investigated numerous OIS cases for local and state law enforcement,” a press release said. “Our track record of impartiality precedes this January 18 incident. The GBI and Georgia State Patrol are two separate agencies.”
But the DeKalb DA’s recusal does remove one potential conflict of interest from the situation. That’s because her office is part of the multijurisdictional task force that has attempted to thwart activists’ sometimes violent activities at the training center site and elsewhere.
Boston’s office is prosecuting the case of several arrested protesters, including many of those facing weighty domestic terrorism charges.
Activists sympathetic to the “stop cop city” movement have anonymously claimed responsibility for things like vandalism, throwing Molotov cocktails at police, destroying machinery and other vehicles, and directly clashing with law enforcement at the training center site.
But while most of the 18 people thus far accused of domestic terrorism have been accused of wrongdoing — from throwing rocks at first responders to refusing to leave a treehouse — the most serious charges have been predicated more on their alleged affiliation with the larger movement than specific acts.
Asked Wednesday if she thought her original use of domestic terrorism charges in December escalated the situation at the training center site, Boston said she couldn’t “speak to the motivations” of other people.
“All I can say is we will continue to follow the law and the evidence and the facts as we see them, and make appropriate charges,” Boston said.
The GBI’s investigation is ongoing. The expected timeframe for completion is unclear.