Comment: Anti-cop riot in Atlanta was out-of-town thuggery

A protest against a police training facility was an opportunity for antifa followers to wield violence.

By Debra J. Saunders /

Atlanta Police are not sugar-coating the violent protests that have plagued the city this month. The department charged six individuals on Jan. 21 on eight counts that include “interference with government property” and “domestic terrorism,” both felonies.

They are terrorists, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum opined.

The protesters’ ostensible cause is to prevent the construction of a $90 million police training center approved by the Atlanta City Council in 2021. Opponents call the facility “Cop City.”

Cop City foes claim to be peaceful, but whom are they kidding? Anyone who participates in an antifa protest should know that what starts peaceful need not remain peaceful.

Check it out online. You can see footage of hooded, masked marauders throwing objects into storefront windows and a Molotov cocktail erupting near police. Local station Fox5 aired footage of a police patrol car set on fire in the downtown area.

Oh, yeah, and a protester shot and wounded a state trooper.

According to authorities, environmental activist Manuel Esteban Paez Teran shot a trooper, who was hospitalized and is in stable condition. Other law enforcement officers returned fire and killed Teran, a nonbinary individual who went by the moniker Tortuguita.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the bullet that shot the officer came from a gun in Tortuguita’s possession.

Activists call the shooting of Tortuguita murder.

There’s no body cam footage of the shooting; which only feeds public distrust.

That said, it’s difficult to believe the anti-Cop City crowd given the violence that accompanies their travels.

Of six activists arrested Saturday, five were from out of state. This was hardly an organic local demonstration against the establishment. It was out-of-town thuggery.

“The loss of our lives remains meaningless to the police. Police killed a forest defender for loving this earth, for taking a stand against the ongoing destruction of the planet and its people,” read a statement posted on the Atlanta Community Press Collective.

Hello. The mob was trying to stop the construction of a government building approved by elected officials who represent their constituents. The mob didn’t bother trying to persuade officialdom, but instead chose vandalism and violence. They’re like the Jan. 6 protesters who two years ago tried to stop Congress from recognizing President Biden’s 2020 victory. They don’t like something, they use force.

Law enforcement should throw the book at them.

Debra J. Saunders is a fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership. Contact her at Copyright 2023,

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