Activists in Atlanta are calling for a “night of rage” after authorities said they killed a man who shot and injured a state trooper during a violent confrontation at the site of a planned public safety training center that protesters have dubbed “Cop City.”
Police were clearing people out of the area around 9 a.m. Wednesday when someone fired at them, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Mike Register told reporters.
“Law enforcement personnel returned fire in self-defense and evacuated the trooper to a safe area. The individual who fired upon law enforcement and shot the trooper was killed in an exchange of gunfire,” he said.
The GBI said the unidentified man had “ignored verbal commands” and opened fire after he was located inside a tent in the woods, CNN reported.
The wounded trooper, who also has not been named, was listed in stable condition after undergoing surgery, according to Chris Wright, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
Opponents of the training center in DeKalb County say the project — which would be built by the Atlanta Police Foundation — involves cutting down so many trees that it would be environmentally damaging.
They also oppose investing so much money in a facility they claim will be used to practice “urban warfare.”
DeKalb County DA Sherry Boston said that protesters attacked cops and firefighters with rocks and weapons as the officers removed barricades blocking some entrances to the site.
In response to the protester’s death at the site of the planned $90 million, 85-acre center at the forested area, the Twitter account Scenes from the Atlanta Forest is calling for a “Night of Rage” on Friday, Fox News reported.
“Consider this a call for reciprocal violence to be done to the police and their allies,” the group reportedly wrote on Twitter, which apparently suspended the account for violating the platform’s rule.
“On Friday, January 20th, wherever you are, you are invited to participate in a night of rage in order to honor the memory of our fallen comrade,” it added.
The suspended account claims to be a part of Defend the Atlanta Forest, one of several groups protesting the planned Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, according to Fox News.
“Police killed a forest defender today, someone who loved the forest, someone who fought to protect the earth & its inhabitants,” Defend the Atlanta Forest said in a tweet.
“This is why we organize to stop Cop City. And we will. In honor of their life, and the lives of everyone killed and imprisoned by the police,” the group added.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday he and his family were praying for law enforcement.
Earlier this month, Kemp applauded arrests at the site and said “they will not be the last we will take down as this project moves forward. Domestic terrorism will NOT be tolerated in our state, and we will not hesitate, we will not rest, we will not waver in ending their activities and prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law.”
People are “illegally occupying” the area and are committing criminal acts including arson, Register said Wednesday — including beating people up, using explosives and setting booby traps.
Four people had been detained and face possible charges, he added.
On Wednesday evening, 150 people gathered to mourn the man’s death during a candlelight vigil in Atlanta’s Little Five Points neighborhood, an area known as a hub for counterculture movements.
Activists called for a probe into the shooting, urging the public and the media to reject the police “narrative” that officers were shooting in self-defense.
The protesters then took to the streets, blocking a busy intersection and throwing scooters in front of vehicles as others held a large banner reading, “Trees give life. Police take it.”
“Stop Cop City!” the activists chanted, followed by, “If you build it, we will burn it!”
With Post Wires