Law enforcement officers make arrests in downtown Atlanta, fill out booking paperwork in front of the CNN Center, and put those who ignored curfew in custody and on corrections buses for transport Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Photo: Jenni Girtman for The AJC
Photo: Jenni Girtman for The AJC

Atlanta protests: 298 arrested over the weekend, many for misdemeanors

The Atlanta Police Department arrested 298 people during three nights of protests. But by Monday afternoon, only the names of 82 — mostly all from metro Atlanta — had been provided to the media.

Of the names made available, the majority were charged with misdemeanors, including disorderly conduct or being a pedestrian in the roadway, jail records showed. Those charges seemed relatively minor in light of the widespread destruction stretching from downtown to Buckhead. And despite Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ assertions that people not from metro Atlanta ignited the violence, no details were released to back that up.

“Obviously, we are the home of the civil rights movement. So, we have a long history of protest in our city,” Bottoms said in a weekend interview. “But our organizers in Atlanta, many of whom don’t agree with me quite often as mayor, were very clear that this, by and large, after things turned violent, was not an Atlanta-based protest. It looked differently racially in our city than our normal protests looked. … So, we don’t know who they were, but many of them were not locally based.”

Those arrested were booked into the Atlanta city jail or the Fulton County jail, depending on their charges, according to police. Those arrested for municipal ordinance violations typically go to the city, while those arrested for state law violations are booked into the county jail, an APD spokesman said Monday.

According to Atlanta police, 77 people were arrested Friday, 157 Saturday and 64 Sunday.

On Sunday, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office released the names and mugshots of 82 people booked into the county jail on Friday and Saturday. The names of the other 216 people who were arrested had not been released by late Monday, despite The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s requests for them.

“We are working diligently to comb through incident reports and arrest records to provide a breakdown of names, addresses, charges, ages, race and gender for each arrestee,” a police spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. “We are keenly aware of your desire to have this data, and hope to have it this week.”

Police arrested protesters as they rallied across the street from the Governor’s Mansion in Buckhead on Saturday, May 30, 2020. It was the second day of marches and rallies in Atlanta over the recent deaths of unarmed black people in Minneapolis; Brunswick, Georgia; and Louisville, Kentucky, at the hands of police officers or civilians acting as law enforcers. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Photo: Hyosub Shin / AJC

Many of those arrested spent only hours in jail before being released on bonds ranging from $265 to $6,000, depending on the charges, jail records showed. Jail records show that of the 82 arrested protesters who’ve been identified, most were from Atlanta or nearby suburbs. Six had addresses outside of Georgia. They ranged in age from 19 to 58.


>> COMPLETE COVERAGE: PROTESTS IN ATLANTA


Among those arrested over the weekend was a man accused of hitting an Atlanta officer with an ATV, according to police. Avery Goggans, 42, was charged with DUI, serious injury by vehicle, reckless driving, possession of marijuana, and several other traffic charges. The crash seriously injured Officer Maximilian Brewer, who remained at Grady Memorial Hospital on Monday following surgery. Goggans was also treated at Grady for injuries, police said.

“Most of the people who were arrested are from Atlanta or living in Atlanta,” said Aurielle Marie, an organizer and volunteer with the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, which helps provide bail and legal support for protesters who are arrested.

Marie said that the “sound bite” by Atlanta’s mayor and other leaders around the country about outside agitators and good and bad protesters is meant to create division among organizers.

“Protesters are coming out in large numbers to support the lives and bodies of black people,” she said. “It would do us the most good to focus on what people are coming out onto the streets for.”

A police officer in riot gear grabs a protester to make an arrest after curfew on Sunday, May 31, 2020 — the third day of protests in Atlanta over the recent deaths of unarmed black people in Minneapolis; Brunswick, Georgia; and Louisville, Kentucky, at the hands of police officers or civilians acting as law enforcers. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)
Photo: Curtis Compton / AJC

Those volunteering for the solidarity fund observed that most people getting arrested were being charged with minor offenses such as disorderly conduct, being a pedestrian in a roadway or breaking the curfew. Based on this, Marie said the actions taken by the police went too far.

“We just hope that we hear less of these reports of excessive police violence toward protesters and we see less of these senseless arrests, these violent arrests by police officers as they have been directed by the chief of police and the mayor,” she said.

The arrests of two suspects led to the firings of two Atlanta police officers over the weekend. Bottoms and APD Chief Erika Shields said Officers Mark Gardner and Ivory Streeter lost their jobs after using excessive force in the arrests of Spelman College student Teniyah Pilgrim, 20, and former Morehouse College student Messiah Young, 22.

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