On Sunday, a group of individuals connected to Antifa set fire to the construction site of an Atlanta public safety training facility, which anti-police and environmental activists have dubbed “Cop City.” Atlanta police have reported that at least 35 people have been detained in connection to the incident, with 23 individuals being charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI and Georgia Bureau of Investigation have joined the investigation.
According to the Atlanta Police Department, the group, who were described as “agitators,” changed into black clothing and began to throw commercial-grade fireworks, Molotov cocktails, large rocks, and bricks at police officers. The incident marked a “significant escalation” in the level of violence and the number of individuals involved in the attack, according to Atlanta Chief of Police Darin Schierbaum.
Schierbaum has made it clear that the attack was not about the public safety training center but an attempt to destabilize the situation. He emphasized that the attack would not be tolerated, and that those who attack law enforcement officers, damage equipment, or break the law would face consequences. The Georgia Attorney General, Chris Carr, has also emphasized that the individuals arrested were part of a national and international network organized to undermine the public safety training center.
Before Sunday’s incident, at least 19 people had been arrested and charged with domestic terrorism since December in connection to demonstrations at the “Cop City” site. Six of the 19 arrests came out of a violent riot in downtown Atlanta on Jan. 21 that was sparked by the deadly shooting of 26-year-old environmental activist Manuel Esteban Paez Teran by Georgia State Patrol.