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‘We need an independent investigation:’ Protest supporter says those arrested did not deserve it

ATLANTA — Outside the DeKalb County Jail, supporters gathered and made noise, hoping those above could hear their support.

One supporter, Misty Novitch, told Channel 2′s Courtney Francisco on WSB Tonight at 11 p.m. that those arrested do not deserve it.

“The state of Georgia is trying to arrest and suppress and literally murder peaceful protestors,” said Novitch. “We’re standing against the destruction of the last largest forest in Atlanta to build a police training facility. We call it Cop City, and this is the opposite of what we should be going.”

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Georgia Bureau of Investigation argues, over the past year, demonstrators have not been peaceful. The GBI said the group has set fires, thrown explosives, and vandalized contractor offices.

GBI Director Mike Register said Wednesday multiple law enforcement agencies were trying to get demonstrators who set up camp in the woods to leave when the confrontation turned deadly.

Law enforcement said one of the protestors, Manuel Teran, shot a trooper. Officers say they fired back, killing Teran.

“We need an independent investigation,” said Novitch. “We don’t believe it happened the way the police say it happened.”

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On Instagram, ‘Stop Cop City’ posted a photo of Teran, saying he spent time between Atlanta and Florida. A background search shows Teran attended Florida State University. One of Teran’s friends, Matthew Johnson, defended those protestors from out of state to Channel 2′s Tom Jones.

“When your address is a forest, it’s a little bit tricky to change your address, right?” said Johnson.

Background records show the seven protestors arrested during the deadly operation Wednesday were also from out of state.

The following people were arrested and charged with domestic terrorism and criminal trespass, with additional charges pending:

  • Geoffrey Parsons, age 20, of Maryland
  • Spencer Bernard Liberto, age 29, of Pennsylvania
  • Matthew Ernest Macar, age 30, of Pennsylvania
  • Timothy Murphy, age 25, of Maine
  • Christopher Reynolds, age 31, of Ohio
  • Teresa Shen, age 31, of New York
  • Sarah Wasilewski, age 35, of Pennsylvania

Records show some have no criminal offenses in their history.

Others had violations relating to traffic or drug and alcohol offenses.

Those protesting at the jail said their histories and home states mean nothing.

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