ATLANTA — Three people connected to protests at the future site of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center have been arrested for money laundering and charity fraud.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said the charges stem from the ongoing investigation of “individuals responsible for numerous criminal acts” at the site in the South River Forest and in other metro Atlanta locations.
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Marlon Scott Kautz, age 39, of Atlanta, GA, Savannah D Patterson, age 30, of Savannah, GA and Adele Maclean, age 42, of Atlanta, GA, were all charged Wednesday.
Agents and officers with Atlanta police executed a search warrant and found evidence linking the three suspects to financial crimes. All three will be booked into jail.
NewsChopper 2 was over the scene of the raid Wednesday morning, which was happening at a home in the Edgewood neighborhood.
The address matches a house known as the “teardown home,” which is painted in rainbow colors and scrawled with messages about resistance. The GBI confirmed the house and raid are connected to its investigation.
According to a release by Stop Cop City, Kautz, Maclean and Patterson work for the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, a nonprofit and bail fund that offers support for protesters who are arrested.
Warrants obtained by Channel 2 Action News accuse Kautz, Maclean and Patterson of “misleading contributed by using funds collected through ha State Registered 501c(3) Network for Strong Communities to fund the actions in part of Defend the Atlanta Forest (DTAF), a group classified by the United States Department of Homeland Security as Domestic Violence Extremists.”
According to warrants, the Atlanta Solidarity Fund provided material support in the form of payments and reimbursements to members of DTAF through NFSC.
The group is accused of using funds from the NFSC to purchase building and camping supplies, gasoline, signs, COVID tests and forest clean-up supplies.
At one point, nearly $50,000 was moved from NFSC to Siskiyou Mutual Aid a day after NFSC was announced as a funding source during a court hearing.
“SMA then returned the funds to NFSC, appearing to launder the funds,” warrants said.
“Today’s arrests are the latest escalation in the state’s attacks on the right to protest,” organizers said. The group said they plan to demonstrate in front of the Dekalb County jail Thursday night.
The case is being prosecuted by the Georgia Attorney General’s Office and the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office.
“Today’s arrests are about the violence that occurred at the site of the future Atlanta Public Safety Training Center and elsewhere,” Attorney General Chris Carr said. “As we have said before, we will not rest until we have held accountable every person who has funded, organized, or participated in this violence and intimidation.”
Gov. Brian Kemp also issued a statement Wednesday, saying that law enforcement has worked for months to secure the site in the face of violence from “mostly out-of-state activists.”
“Today, we’re proud to share that those who backed their illegal actions are also under arrest and will face justice,” Kemp said. “These criminals facilitated and encouraged domestic terrorism with no regard for others, watching as communities faced the destructive consequences of their actions.”
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The South River Forest was the site of more than a year of protests by people who opposed the construction of a new police and fire training facility.
Agitators camped out in the forest got into frequent scuffles with police, often throwing Molotov cocktails and fireworks at officers.
During a raid in January, the GBI said a protester opened fire on Georgia State Troopers who were trying to clear the area. The protester, 26-year-old Manuel Teran was then killed by troopers.
After Teran’s death, protesters held a festival in which some of them set construction equipment on fire. Another group marched through the streets of downtown Atlanta, breaking windows and setting things on fire.
Dozens of protesters have been arrested on domestic terrorism charges. At least three are still in jail, according to Stop Cop City activists.
The land has since been cleared of protesters.
Construction on the new training facility is already in progress.
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