Violence flared up once again at the new police training center that is being built in Atlanta.
The $90 million police training project was meant to improve their morale and increase recruitment in the wake of the George Floyd protests, according to Fox News. Instead, it has become a target for environmentalists and anti-police protestors who have been camping out on the site since June 2021.
Earlier this month, violence broke out at the sight as fires were set and firecrackers were set off. The police blame this on a group of “outside agitators” who they said arrived at the site, changed into black clothing, and launched a “coordinated attack on construction equipment and police officers.”
“They began to throw large rocks, bricks, Molotov cocktails, and fireworks at police officers,” the Atlanta Police Department said.
This is not the first time there has been violence at the site. Earlier this year, activist Manuel Teran allegedly shot a state trooper before being shot by law enforcement and dying at the scene. Teran was killed when seven protesters were taken into custody on charges of domestic terrorism as well as criminal trespassing. Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) reported that 25 illegal campsites were destroyed during the raid, which also uncovered “mortar style fireworks, multiple edged weapons, pellet rifles, gas masks, and a blow torch.” The director of the GBI has accused the activists of arson and of setting traps in the woods.
Such violence seems like part of the course for these anti-police rallies, but at least the media isn’t calling the protest “mostly peaceful,” which they said during the George Floyd riots.
Since December 19 people have been arrested and charged with domestic terrorism because of actions against the site.
After the most recent violence earlier this month, police detained nearly three dozen people, although it is uncertain whether all of them were arrested.
“This was a very violent attack, very violent attack,” Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum noted. “This wasn’t about a public safety training center. This was about anarchy and this was about the attempt to be stabilized, and we are addressing that quickly.”
The police have been amazingly lenient with these protestors, taking action only when things escalated from protest to criminal activity. And that is what happened this month.
“This was not a protest,” Schierbaum said after the Sunday night incident. “This is criminal activity and the criminal charges will show that.”
While it is fine to protest, it is not right to break the law. The U.S. Constitution ensures our right to peacefully assemble and that the government cannot pass laws impinging on our free speech. As long as the demonstrations are peaceful, law enforcement can do little against them even if what the demonstrators were saying wasn’t something they wanted to hear.
It was only when the demonstration became violent and demonstrators began destroying the property of others that it crossed a line. Not only did the demonstration then become illegal, those who damaged property should face the penalty for their actions. Hopefully, some of them will.
Let’s hope these domestic terrorists face charges and are prosecuted. That would be justice.
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