Trial of Atlanta police training center protester delayed

Protesters march against Atlanta's planned police and firefighter safety training center in an event organizers are calling a non-violent "Day of Action." (Riley Bunch /

Credit: Riley Bunch /

Credit: Riley Bunch /

Protesters march against Atlanta's planned police and firefighter safety training center in an event organizers are calling a non-violent "Day of Action." (Riley Bunch /

The trial of a defendant accused of violating the state’s RICO Act stemming from protests over Atlanta’s planned public safety training center has been delayed. The move came after the defense announced its intention to appeal a ruling denying a motion to dismiss the case on grounds that the defendant’s speedy trial demand was not met.

It is unclear how long the appeal with the Georgia Court of Appeals will take.

Defense attorney Suri Chadha Jimenez represents Ayla King, who would have been the first of more than 60 defendants to go to trial.

King, who is from Massachusetts, faces one count of violating the state’s RICO Act, after allegedly trespassing into a DeKalb County forest on March 5, 2023, by joining “an organized mob of individuals designed to overwhelm the police force in an attempt to occupy the DeKalb forest and cause property damage,” according to the indictment.

Chadha Jimenez filed the speedy trial demand on behalf of King on Oct. 30. Under Georgia law, a jury has to be seated and sworn into service by the end of the speedy trial deadline. In Fulton County, that’s two terms of court, each of which are about two months long.

In the motion to dismiss, Chadha Jimenez argues the court should have set the matter for trial during the November-December 2023 term of court, rather than push it into the new year. A jury was seated last month.

“After the jury was selected and sworn (Dec. 12), this court - with the consent of the state but over the objection of the defense - delayed the start of the trial to January 10, nearly a full month later and during a different term of court,” the motion reads.

On Monday, Chadha Jimenez argued that taking a break for the holidays did not justify the delay.

“I know that the holidays are important to a lot of people, but my client’s right are very important,” he said.

Chadha Jimenez added that he made a “strategic decision” to go forward with the case and put pressure on the state, but the strategy went out of the window when prosecutors got “an extra 30 days to get ready.”

On Monday, Judge Kimberly Adams said there were jurors with scheduling issues and the courthouse was closed for the holidays, resulting in trial being pushed to January.

“In my judgement, starting the trial with the holiday season upon us would have created the kind of anxiety, I think, in some of the jurors, that would have impacted their ability to focus on the evidence being presented,” Adams said.

King’s trial is expected to last up to four weeks, with the state planning to call around 45 witnesses, the vast majority law enforcement. King has declined the state’s plea deal of 10 years, with three to serve in prison and the rest on parole. Deputy Attorney General John Fowler indicated the state would have been ready for trial on Wednesday, with witnesses available.

Adams brought jurors in Wednesday and told them that they were excused while a “preliminary matter” was addressed and that they would be notified a week before trial is set to resume.