Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said Sunday that most of those responsible for the previous night’s violent protest were not from Georgia.
“Most of them traveled into our city to wreak havoc,” Dickens said. “And so, we love to support people when they’re doing right, peaceful protest is a part of our freedoms, but when you are violent, we will make sure that you get held accountable.”
Dickens spoke Sunday morning on “Face the Nation” on CBS, just hours after speaking at a press conference Saturday night. What began as a protest over a planned public safety training facility turned violent late Saturday, when those involved set fire to a police car and broke business windows, damaging property in downtown Atlanta.
Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said Saturday night that six people had been arrested. Late Sunday afternoon, the names of those arrested and their charges were released. The suspects, who ranged in age from 20 to 37 years old, included 20-year-old Graham Evatt of Decatur. The other five were from out of state, according to police.
The others arrested included: Nadja Geier, 24, from Nashville; Madeleine Feola, 22, from Spokane, Washington; Ivan Ferguson, 23, from Nevada; Francis Carrol, 22, from Kennebunkport, Maine; and Emily Murphy, 37, from Grosse Isle, Michigan.
Credit: Steve Schaefer
Credit: Steve Schaefer
All six suspects were charged with four felony counts, including criminal damage, arson, interference with government property, and domestic terrorism, police said. Each suspect was also charged with four misdemeanor charges of obstruction, being a pedestrian in the road, rioting and unlawful assembly. The six suspects remained late Sunday in the Fulton County jail, booking records showed.
No one was injured in the violence, but three buildings and a police car were damaged, Schierbaum said. Cleanup was underway Sunday in a roughly two-block area downtown.
Shattered windows and broken glass could be seen in the area, and one building had a sign posted stating it would be closing early due to safety concerns. Workers tackled the damage at 191 Peachtree Tower, which houses the Atlanta Police Foundation.
Credit: Miguel Martinez
Credit: Miguel Martinez
Dickens was among Georgia’s political leaders who condemned the violent protest. But once again, attention was centered on Atlanta’s crime rates and new proposed crackdowns pushed by Gov. Brian Kemp and his GOP allies.
“Violence and unlawful destruction of property are not acts of protest,” Kemp said late Saturday. “They are crimes that will not be tolerated in Georgia and will be prosecuted fully.”
At Saturday’s press conference, Dickens said some of those arrested had explosives.
The property damage along Peachtree Street occurred about an hour after dozens of protesters filled a portion of an Underground Atlanta plaza to protest against the city’s plans to build a training center for police and firefighters within several acres of forested land in DeKalb County.
The event also was held to remember 26-year-old activist Manuel Teran, who was fatally shot by a state trooper at the project’s site this past week. Investigators have said Teran fired first, wounding a trooper. Other troopers then returned fire, according to the GBI.
The trooper, whose name was not released out of fears of retaliation, was shot in the abdomen and underwent emergency surgery, according to investigators.
In addition to seeking the end of the project, the protesters Saturday were calling for an independent probe into Teran’s death. The GBI has said there is no bodycam footage of the incident. Protestors also want the city to defund the APD.
“Those individuals that are protesting against ‘cop city’ as they call it, it’s really a public safety training center,” Dickens said Sunday on CBS. “They don’t want to see the very things that they asked for: more police training. We can’t train imaginary, we have to do it in a facility that allows for police and firefighters in the community to train together.”
Dickens also publicly thanked officers and firefighters, along with others in public safety, for their continued efforts to keep Atlanta safe.
The investigation into Saturday’s protests continued late Sunday.
— Staff writers Greg Bluestein and Wilborn P. Nobles III contributed to this article.
A note of disclosure
The James M. Cox Foundation, the charitable arm of Cox Enterprises which owns The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has contributed to the training center fundraising campaign. It is among several Atlanta-based foundations that have contributed.
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