(ConservativeSense.com) – The dispute over “Cop City” in Atlanta, Georgia, continues. Ever since the new police training facility was announced for construction, left-wing activists have been fighting against it. Now, civil liberties groups and defense attorneys are defending what they call a political movement, although law enforcement considers their actions that of terrorists.
Things became heated in January when a group of activists started camping out in the woods on the outskirts of the construction site until police moved in to clear them out. One of the activists opened fire and was shot dead by a state trooper. Following that event, violent protests erupted on the streets of Atlanta.
Earlier this month, a group of masked activists launched a coordinated attack on the construction site, destroying equipment, setting a bulldozer on fire, and hurling rocks and fireworks at law enforcement officers.
After the attack by more than 150 activists, officials say many made their way back to a music festival after changing out of their all-black of camouflage attire to blend in with those attending the festival. Copies moved in looking for suspects and arrested 23, each of them facing up to 35 years in prison on charges of domestic terrorism.
One defense attorney, Eli Bennett, who represents three of the arrested suspects from the festival, said law enforcement “can’t make a criminal organization out of a political movement,” yet crimes committed with a political motivation are the definition of terrorism.
Many activists claim they may be detained based on flimsy charges. According to police, 17 out of the 23 arrested during the festival had muddy clothes and shields, which law enforcement claims are evidence they were part of the group that attacked the construction site. Warrants for the other 5 did not specify details to explain their arrest.
Bennet said although it’s understandable police have “a big problem on their hands in identifying the actual ‘vandals’” it does not “justify arresting people who had no involvement and were just there for a music festival” in support of “an environmental cause” as well as against police militarization.
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