Atlanta

‘This is not the way:’ Atlanta mayor, police chief respond to attacks on training facility

ATLANTA — On Thursday, police announced another arrest related to protests at the Atlanta Public Safety Training Facility.

John Robert Mazurek, 30, was charged in connection to an arson investigation that began in July 2023 after eight police motorcycles were destroyed with explosives at an APD precinct.

Channel 2′s Courtney Francisco was at news conferences on Thursday held by protesters and city leaders.

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Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said during his news conference that Mazurek is one of the people who showed up to the precinct on Southside Industrial Parkway and set equipment on fire, and his actions could have turned deadly.

“An Atlanta police officer was inside, so for those who say this is only about the destruction of property to make a political point, that is wrong. We are very fortunate that we did not stand before you all in July to note the passing of an Atlanta police officer that was killed in an arson attack,” Chief Schierbaum said.

“This is not the way to have your voices heard. This is destructive, this is criminal,” Mayor Andre Dickens said.

“This is not about freedom of speech, this is about criminal attacks against our city and our efforts to build a public safety training center,” Atlanta Fire Rescue Chief Rod Smith said.

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Critics say the announcement ignores the legal steps they’ve taken to show opposition.

“The fact that the city tries to spotlight indiscriminate acts as opposed to the mass amounts of actions that have taken place over the last two years, two-and-a-half years, it shows the city is not caring whether or not there is public sentiment against this facility,” protester Kamau Franklin said.

The arrest happened while city, state and federal agents were serving three search warrants at three different locations, two of them in Atlanta and one in DeKalb County.

Chief Schierbaum said more arrests related to attacks on the facility are coming soon.

Mayor Dickens said earlier this year that the training facility should be completed by the end of 2024.

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