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Gov. Kemp declares State of Emergency, calls in National Guard in response to Cop City protests

Crime and public safety DeKalb County Trending

Gov. Kemp declares State of Emergency, calls in National Guard in response to Cop City protests

Gov. Brian Kemp

DeKalb County, GA — Gov. Brian Kemp has called up 1,000 National Guard troops and declared a State of Emergency in response to protests over a police training center planned for DeKalb County.

Activists call the training center Cop City.

The governor’s order followed a protest on Jan. 21. Protesters gathered at Underground Atlanta in response to police officers shooting and killing Manuel “Tortuguita” Esteban Paez Teran, 26, on Jan. 18 near the training center site. A State Trooper was also shot and wounded. Following the Jan. 21 protest, a smaller group of demonstrators smashed windows and torched a police car.

The governor’s order begins, “Whereas, on the evening of January 21, 2023, protests turned violent in downtown Atlanta as masked activists threw rocks, launched fireworks, and burned a police vehicle in front of the Atlanta Police Foundation office building; Whereas, Georgians respect peaceful protests, but do not tolerate acts of violence against persons or property.”

The order cites the governor’s authority to issue emergency declarations.

“Because of unlawful assemblage, violence, overt threats of violence, disruption of the peace and tranquility of this state and danger existing to persons and property, a State of Emergency is declared in the State of Georgia,” the governor’s declaration says. “It is further ordered that such State of Emergency shall expire on Thursday, February 9, at 11:59 P.M. unless renewed by the Governor. It is further ordered that the Georgia Department of Defense provide up to one thousand (1,000) Georgia National Guard troops to be used in response to this State of Emergency. ”

It is unclear whether the Guard would be tasked with clearing activists from the training center, an 85-acre site located in DeKalb County’s South River Forest. Decaturish asked the Governor’s Office whether the Guard will assist other law enforcement agencies working to remove the activists. Teran died, and the officer was wounded during a raid near the property.

To read the governor’s order, click here.

Several law enforcement agencies are part of a multi-jurisdictional task force working to remove activists from the property.

The task force members are: GBI — the agency investigating Teran’s death —  the Atlanta Police Department, the FBI, the Georgia Attorney General’s Office, the DeKalb County Police Department, the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office, the Georgia State Patrol, and the Department of Natural Resources.

On Jan. 25, District Attorney Sherry Boston recused herself from reviewing the results of the GBI’s investigation into Teran’s shooting and death due to her office’s involvement in the task force. But the GBI doesn’t plan to step aside and will continue leading that investigation.

This story will be updated when more information is available.

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