Police make arrests at Atlanta Police Training Facility site after equipment destroyed, fires set
Approximately 35 people were arrested during a music festival in the South River Forest after officials with the city of Atlanta said, “a group of violent agitators conducted a coordinated attack on construction equipment and police officers.”
On March 5, videos on social media platforms such as Twitter showed clouds of smoke and construction equipment on fire toward the end of the two-day festival held in South River/Weelaunee Forest and the location of the future Atlanta Police Training Facility. The property is owned by the city of Atlanta and is located in DeKalb County.
Officials with Atlanta Police Department (APD) said, “the agitators changed into black clothing, entered the construction area and began to throw large rocks, bricks, Molotov cocktails, and fireworks at police officers.”
“The agitators destroyed multiple pieces of construction equipment by fire and vandalism,” stated officials with APD. “Multiple law enforcement agencies deployed to the area and detained several people committing illegal activity and 35 agitators have been detained so far. The illegal actions of the agitators could have resulted in bodily harm. Officers exercised restraint and used non-lethal enforcement to conduct arrests.”
One video clip, uploaded by Twitter user @madibskatin and shared by Defend the Atlanta Forest, a group that opposes the Atlanta Police Training Facility and organized the music festival, shows police officers chasing down and tasing attendees who are not dressed in black and not near the area of the vandalized equipment.
“It’s important to note that the 35 people that police arrested (on March 5) were not violent agitators, but peaceful concert goers who were nowhere near the demonstration,” tweeted officials with Defend the Atlanta Forest.
With multiple events and protests scheduled on the Defend the Atlanta Forest’s website, including another festival scheduled to run from March 10 – 13, officials with APD said in collaboration with law enforcement partners, they will have “a multi-layered strategy (in place) that includes reaction and arrest.”
“The Atlanta Police Department asks for the upcoming protests to remain peaceful,” stated officials.
This is a developing story.
For more information, visit www.atlantapd.org and www.defendtheatlantaforest.org.