One Single Cop Car Burns In Atlanta
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Brian Kemp, Republican Governor of Georgia, declared a state of emergency after Atlanta protestors set fire to one single patrol car in response to the fatal police shooting of 26-year-old Manuel Esteban Paez Teran.
Officers say they killed Teran after he shot a cop who is now expected to make a full recovery.
The exchange took place while police were attempting to clear out a month’s long demonstration against plans to spend 90 million dollars on “Cop City,” a police training facility that, in its construction, will necessitate the destruction of Atlanta’s Weelaunee Forest.
Since the summer of 2021, Defend the Atlanta Forest protesters have engaged in extended tree-sits, rallies and other forms of resistance against the development of over 380 acres of forest land to build a mock city and tactical training ground for police.
Environmentalists warn intensive weapons training would result in chemical runoff destroying local ground water.
Most protestors were identified as “forest defenders,” while others are simply opposed to spending $90 million on police rather than the root causes of crime like crumbling schools or threadbare social services for at risk youth.
Protestors who witnessed the fatal shooting dispute the police account. Police conveniently turned off their body cameras before killing Teran. If “Cop City” ever gets built, the curriculum must include a class solely devoted to how a body camera’s on button works.
Governor Kemp’s state of emergency lasts until early February 2023, and includes 1,000 members of his National Guard on the streets to restore order.
Because the media is mesmerized by the image of one single cop car set ablaze, most Americans are left with the impression that the protestors were violent. But Natasha Lennard writes in The Intercept:
The Atlanta-based movement should be seen as an example of rare staying power, thoughtful strategizing, and the crucial articulation of environmentalist politics situated in anti-racist, Indigenous, and abolitionist struggle.
Governor Kemp blamed the protests on “outside agitators.” Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene blamed it all on Antifa, an organization that doesn’t even exist.
Kemp and Greene know what they’re doing. By blaming outside forces, they are delegitimizing real grievances inside the local community.
Citizens of Atlanta, not outside agitators, are the ones who don’t want 380 acres of canopy destroyed for a police training center. They also oppose additional plans to cut down 170 acres of precious urban forest to make room for an airport and new sound stage.
Claiming that people from outside the community are causing all of the trouble is a rhetorical ploy to suggest that Atlanta locals are perfectly fine with plans to destroy one of America’s most beautiful urban forests.
The locals are angry.
Outside groups aren’t the ones stoking anger.
It’s the rich and powerful sparking the flames by not doing enough to protect the people of Georgia from developers.
The clock is ticking on our planet.
I wish Americans were as enraged by the burning of our rain forests as they are over one single cop car in Atlanta.