DeKalb County clearing Intrenchment Creek park with plans to reopen it to the publicDeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond. Photo by Dean Hesse.
This story has been updated.
DeKalb County, GA — DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Michael Thurmond issued an executive order on Friday, March 24, that closes and restricts access to Intrenchment Creek Park and other county-owned properties in the area.
On Monday, March 27, the county announced the steps it is taking to reopen the park to the public, including clearing the area of traps and activists on the property. During the sweep, police recovered “a Molotov cocktail, booby trap boards with rusty nails protruding out, and several syringes containing Fentanyl,” a press release from the county says.
Intrenchment Creek Park is close to a proposed public safety training center in DeKalb County, called “Cop City” by activists. The land is central to the county’s controversial deal with a private company. DeKalb traded Intrenchment Creek Park for a nearby area in 2021, WABE reported.
DeKalb County on March 27 announced a multi-jurisdictional effort to clear the park, including the presence of Georgia State Patrol. The involvement of State Troopers drew a swift response from DeKalb County Commissioner Ted Terry, who noted troopers don’t wear body cameras, something that became an issue after the shooting death of an activist protesting cop city.
“In this press release it states we are partnering with the State Patrol… but they don’t wear body cameras! After the shooting this coordination is unconscionable,” Terry said in an email to his fellow commissioners that he forwarded to Decaturish. “Please consider the risk this … is putting us in.”
Thurmond’s order closes the area to the community, residents and visitors, “given the recent and ongoing criminal activities occurring on or near the Properties, including, but not limited to, the installation of hidden traps or other devices designed to injure, maim, or cause the death of adults, children, and pets.” DeKalb County provided pictures of the traps, most of which are boards with nails sticking out of them.
Thurmond’s office said the goals of today’s sweep are:
— Determine whether any unauthorized person or persons are present in restricted areas, and if so, direct them to leave immediately. Per the executive order, “unauthorized persons entering the properties will be subject to prosecution for criminal trespass and any other violation of law to the fullest extent of Georgia Law.”
— Determine whether there are any unauthorized vehicles in the park and if so, remove all unauthorized vehicles from the restricted areas. Per the executive order, “any owner of an unauthorized vehicle parked on any of the properties will be subject to prosecution for violations of applicable law and the vehicle will be towed and impounded as permitted under Georgia Law.”
— Securing entrances and exits from the property with cement barricades.
— Posting official signs on the properties prohibiting public access to and parking on the properties. Per the executive order, “anyone caught moving, removing, or defacing signs posted by the county on the properties will be subject to prosecution to the fullest extent of Georgia Law.”
— Begin inspecting the park and adjacent county-owned properties for hidden traps or other devices designed to injure, maim, or cause the death of adults, children and pets on the property.
“Once DeKalb County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs in coordination with the DeKalb Police Department determines that the park is safe for the public to visit, DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond executive order will be rescinded,” a press release from Thurmond’s office says.
The task force partners involved are:
— Georgia State Patrol
— Georgia Bureau of Investigation
— DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office
— DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office
— Atlanta Police Department
— Fulton County Sheriff’s Office
— Dunwoody Police Department
— Sandy Springs Police Department
— Georgia Department of Natural Resources
— DeKalb County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs
— DeKalb County Sanitation Department
— DeKalb County Facilities Management Department
— DeKalb County Fire Rescue
— Johns Creek Police Department
— Brookhaven Police Department
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