GBI director: Some Atlanta protesters have previous record of causing civil unrest

ATLANTA — The Georgia Bureau of Investigation released new details about the people arrested in the first five days of protests in Atlanta.

Thousands of people have taken part in peaceful protests across metro Atlanta in support of George Floyd, a man killed in the custody of four Minneapolis police officers.

Hundreds have been arrested so far in metro Atlanta protests and an analysis found 57 of the 370 arrests are out-of-state residents.

The data, compiled by the Georgia Information and Analysis Center, also shows more than 30 of the people arrested have significant criminal histories including charges that appear to show they’ve been involved in protests before.

The GBI flagged three specific protesters who they believe came to cause civil unrest including:

  • A 34-year-old man arrested in Atlanta who they believe had participated in riots in Minneapolis before coming to Atlanta.
  • A Florida resident who had multiple obstruction and assault charges related to civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. The convicted felon live streamed his post-arrest detainment on social media while handcuffed.
  • At least ten individuals were bonded out by one individual who is out-of-state. The GBI says that suggests a coordinated effort.

“At first glance, that would dictate to law enforcement, or indicate to law enforcement that there’s probably some connection there,” GBI Director Vic Reynolds told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot.

Reynolds says its too early to name which groups they believe sparked the violence and if they are left-wing or right-wing groups, or both. Reynolds says more analysis will take place at the federal level.

“This is a nation based on the rule of law. It’s also a nation built on protest, so people have the right and we respect that," Reynolds said.

Most of the people arrested, about 84 percent, are local residents. The majority of arrests are related to violating the curfew and disorderly conduct -- all misdemeanors.