The Forum

A Public Newspaper for a Private School

The Forum

The Forum

RICO Charges Hit Cop City Protesters

Protestors hold a banner and shout, “Stop Cop City,” during the public comment portion of the Atlanta City Council ahead of the final vote to approve legislation to fund the training center at Atlanta City Hall, on Monday, June 5, 2023, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS) ©2023 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

On Aug. 29, 61 people were indicted under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law after protesting the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, commonly called Cop City. RICO is a law that extends sentences and penalties for individual crimes committed as part of an organization. 

People began protesting the training center in 2021, shortly after construction started in the South River Forest area. The site is often criticized by environmentalists, who disapprove of its location, as hundreds of trees are being cut down to build the center. It is also protested by human rights activists, who suggest the $90 million spent on the facility will increase police militarization. 

The group funding the project, the Atlanta Police Foundation, claims that its goal is solely to train officers that are currently learning in second rate facilities. Large groups have raged on with their protests, which often include vandalism and arson, for the past two years. 

During one protest in January, police shot 26-year-old activist Manuel Terán 57 times, after they allegedly shot an officer in the leg. It is heavily debated whether or not the killing was an act of self defense or an instance of police brutality. 

Terán’s death sparked even more disapproval of the center, resulting in a particularly heated protest in which, according to police, rocks, firecrackers, and makeshift bombs were all thrown at police officers. The Defend the Atlanta Forest Enterprise and all 61 people involved in the protests were then indicted on RICO charges. Many of the defendants are also facing other indictments, such as domestic terrorism, money laundering, and attempted arson. 

These charges come just two weeks after former president Donald Trump was also indicted on RICO. Those opposing the new facility believe that these charges were created to intimidate protesters and to silence the movement itself. Regardless of the new charges and protests, construction continues on the new training facility.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Sawyer Brown
Sawyer Brown, Staff Writer

Comments (0)

All The Forum Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *