Vigil held for protester shot, killed at proposed police training facility

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A protestor is dead and a trooper is hospitalized after a law enforcement operation escalated to gunfire. It happened while law enforcement was trying to clear protesters from a property designed to be the new police and fire training facility.

Wednesday night, that group of protesters held a vigil for the protester who officers shot.

His supporters called him the “Forest Defender.”

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Channel 2′s Courtney Francisco was LIVE at the vigil for the protestor in Little Five Points on WSB Tonight at 11 p.m.

At the ceremony, the group blocked traffic and threw trash cans, bikes and scooters into the road while chanting “Stop Cop City.”

The shooting happened early Wednesday. Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Director Mike Register said multiple agencies were trying to remove protestors who set up encampments on the property to try to stop construction.

Protesters told Channel 2′s Tom Jones that the protest was peaceful.

The proposed facility would take up an 85-acre plot off Key Road in the largest urban forest in metro Atlanta. Protesters fear it would be bad for the community and the environment.

Register said the group is becoming a danger to the community.

“More so than that, they are endangering the community and the citizens around this area,” said Register. “Arson, attacking citizens, shooting police officers, using explosives, beating people up, and then burning their car down.”


This isn’t the first incident surrounding the proposed training facility.

Last month, protestors had to be forcibly removed from trees in the area of the proposed facility.

Last summer, surveillance video showed activists vandalizing the offices of the contractor who was hired to build the new police training center. In addition, several protesters were arrested after they threw a Molotov cocktail at police as officers raided a camp on the grounds of the planned training facility. And last month, firefighters battling a dumpster fire at the site in DeKalb County were attacked, according to police.

During Wednesday’s planned operation, several people were arrested and taken to the DeKalb County Jail. The GBI said charges are pending.

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