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‘Cop City’ protestor shot 13 times by Atlanta police

“Killing a person who was sleeping in a forest doesn’t make sense to me. We are living in horror.” Environmental activist Manuel Terán was killed protesting against the construction of a massive police training facility in Atlanta.

Feb 12, 2023

The City of Atlanta is planning to build a massive police training facility, bringing up serious concerns from local communities and environmental activists. According to CNN, the center will include a shooting range, mock city and a burn building, among other facilities. Some locals of the predominantly Black city say that development has largely been secretive with little input from the most affected communities. Atlanta authorities have previously been criticized for police brutality during the widespread Black Lives Matter protests for the killing of Rayshard Brooks, a Black man who was shot in the back by Atlanta police.
“The City of Atlanta has leased 381-acres of Weelaunee Forest, stolen Muscogee land, to the Atlanta Police Foundation for a police military facility funded by corporations” writes Stop Cop City (SCC), a decentralized movement opposing the creation of the forecasted $90 million police training facility.
The approved training center would cause the destruction of a large section of forested land, which has been instrumental in preventing stormwater flooding and that the Atlanta authorities had previously agreed to protect. There are also concerns about air pollution from fires and weapons training. Activists committed to blocking the project have camped out in the forest and say they have no plans to leave.
On Jan. 18, during a joint raid on protestors by local and state law enforcement, a state trooper was reportedly shot in the groin. They believed that Manuel Terán, a 26-year-old anti-Cop City protester, was responsible for the shooting. In response, Manuel Terán was shot at least 13 times by the police from several different firearms, according to an independent autopsy report.
However, newly released body cam footage following the incident shows officers asking whether the state trooper who had been shot was wounded by one of his own.
“You f-d your own officer up,” one Atlanta Police Department officer is heard saying in the released footage. He later asks two other officers, “They shoot their own man?”. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has published the following statement regarding the footage, “In those videos, at least one statement exists where an officer speculates that the trooper was shot by another officer in the crossfire. Speculation is not evidence. Our investigation does not support that statement.” GBI had initially denied the existence of any camera footage of the incident.
“They claim Manny failed to follow orders,” says a statement from civil rights attorney Jeff Filipovits, who is representing Terán’s family. “What orders? The GBI has not talked about the fact that Manny faced a firing squad, when those shots were fired, or who fired them?” In addition to the charges filed against those detained on the day Terán was killed, numerous senior Atlanta police officers have sought to portray protests against the training center as terrorism, alarming civil rights activists. Last December, activists protesting in the South River forest were also arrested and charged with “domestic terrorism” under state law, which is unprecedented in US environmental activism.
Mehraneh Anaraki is Deputy News Editor. Email her at
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