Independent autopsy shows protester was probably in a sitting position with hands raised when shot

A second autopsy performed on a protester who was shot and killed by police on the site where the Atlanta Police Training Center is planned, claims the protester’s hands were probably raised in a seated position with legs crossed, according to lawyers representing their family.

Details from Manuel Teran’s second autopsy were released at a press conference in downtown Decatur on March 13. During the press conference, attorney Brian Spears and members of Teran’s family legal team spoke about the autopsy and their work on the case.

The independent autopsy, commissioned by Teran’s family, found that Teran, who used they/them pronouns, “was facing multiple individuals who were firing weapons at them and, during the course of being shot, was able to raise their hands and arms up in front of their body. Both Manuel’s left and right hands show exit wounds in the palms. The autopsy further reveals Manuel was (likely) in a seated position, cross-legged when killed,” stated attorneys.

“The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has repeatedly declined to meet with us, to talk to us, or to present any evidence to us,” said a member of Teran’s legal team. “They have also prevented the release of information by the city of Atlanta, which stopped releasing videos of the incident because the GBI told them to stop. We have filed a lawsuit concerning the refusal of the city to provide records on an ongoing basis.”

The attorneys for Teran’s family further stated they had “no choice but to file a lawsuit” under the Georgia Open Records Act because, “there is no investigative justification for the GBI to continue to withhold evidence.”

Teran’s family was present during the press conference and said they are seeking answers – but so far have received none.

“I never thought Manuel would die sitting in a meditation position,” said Manuel Teran’s mother, Belkis Teran. “I want answers for my child’s homicide. I deserve answers.”

A statement posted on the GBI’s website states, “the actions of the GBI to prevent inappropriate release of evidence are solely intended to preserve the integrity of the investigation and to ensure the facts of the incident are not tainted.”

“All the facts, to include any information brought forward by the family’s attorney, will be assessed along with all other investigative information by the special prosecutor,” the statement continues. “The GBI cannot and will not attempt to sway public opinion in this case but will continue to be led by the facts and truth. We understand the extreme emotion that this has caused Teran’s family and will continue to investigate as comprehensively as possible.”

The shooting occurred on the proposed site of the Atlanta Public Training Facility, dubbed “Cop City” by protesters. Teran was shot and killed by officers during an encampment clearing operation at the site owned by the city of Atlanta and located in DeKalb County.

Representatives of the GBI team have reported that Teran shot at officers without warning, and critically injured an officer whose identity has not been released to the public. Reports from GBI indicate that officers returned fire and killed Teran.

While APD released some body cam footage of the multi-jurisdictional operation, no footage has been released of the shooting.

This is a developing story.

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