Atlanta Police Name 23 Domestic Terrorism Suspects in ‘Cop City’ Attack

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
March 6, 2023US News

The Atlanta Police Department confirmed the arrests of 23 people following a violent demonstration at a location where Atlanta plans to construct a police and fire training facility dubbed by opponents as “Cop City.”

Authorities said that of the 23 people arrested, only two were from Georgia, and at least two are not U.S. citizens. All 23 were charged with domestic terrorism, officials said in a news release.

“The agitators destroyed multiple pieces of construction equipment by fire and vandalism. Multiple law enforcement agencies deployed to the area and detained several people committing illegal activity,” police said, adding that “35 agitators have been detained so far.”

Officials said that suspect Dimitri LeNy is from France and another, Fredrique Robert-Paul, is from Canada. Suspects Ayla King, Alexis Paplai, and Timothy Bilodeau are from Massachusetts, the department said, adding that two others—Samuel Ward and Max Biederman—are from Arizona.

The remainder were from Tennessee, Virginia, Louisiana, Indiana, New York, Connecticut, North Carolina, Florida, Maine, Utah, Colorado, Wisconsin, and other states. The only suspects with Georgia addresses were identified by authorities as Thomas Jurgens and Jack Beaman.

Officials “continue to see a number of individuals not from Atlanta, Georgia, that are present tonight undertaking criminal activities to destabilize the construction of a fire and police training center,” Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum told reporters Sunday.

“What happened last night was not peaceful protest—it was violence. Plain and simple,” Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement issued Monday. “We will not tolerate this destruction of property, and we will seek to ensure that those who have engaged in this criminal behavior are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Video footage released by the Atlanta Police Department showed individuals hiding behind a chain-link fence throwing what appear to be firecrackers at police. Several exploded in the vicinity of the officers, who appeared to call for backup and retreat, the footage shows.

NTD Photo
Construction equipment set on fire by a group protesting the planned public safety training center in Atlanta on March 4, 2023. (Atlanta Police Department via AP)

Other footage released by police shows a piece of heavy equipment in flames at the facility under construction. It was among multiple pieces of construction equipment destroyed, police said.

In tactics reminiscent of far-left Antifa black bloc groups, the “Cop City” suspects were dressed mainly in all black. They also threw Molotov cocktails, bricks, rocks, and other objects at police, authorities said.

Police from nearby communities stepped in to assist city officers, and no officers were injured, Schierbaum said, adding that the FBI  has joined police in the case. Officers used nonlethal enforcement methods to disperse the crowd and detain those involved, he said. Asked about injuries to any of the demonstrators, the chief said that “some minor discomforts” were reported and were being attended to by medical personnel.

“This was a very violent attack, very violent attack,” Schierbaum said. “This wasn’t about a public safety training center. This was about anarchy … and we are addressing that quickly.”

Video footage released on March 5, 2023, shows left-wing rioters in a standoff with officers in Atlanta, Georgia. (Atlanta Police Department/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said the people involved “chose destruction and vandalism over legitimate protest, yet again demonstrating the radical intent behind their actions.”

“As I’ve said before, domestic terrorism will NOT be tolerated in this state,” Kemp said in a statement Monday. “We will not rest until those who use violence and intimidation for an extremist end are brought to full justice,” he said.

The Atlanta City Council approved the $90 million Atlanta Public Safety Training Center in 2021, saying a state-of-the-art campus would replace substandard offerings and boost police morale, which is beset by hiring and retention struggles following left-wing, anti-police riots that erupted across Atlanta and the United States in the summer of 2020.

The group involved in this weekend’s incident, Defend the Atlanta Forest, issued a statement to local media outlets on Sunday evening claiming that it was engaged in “legitimate protest.”

“Cop City will never be a legitimate project. It continues to be widely opposed by Atlantians,” the statement said. “The civil rights violations committed by police today reaffirms that this cop training facility should never be built. We stand steadfast in our conviction to build a new world in which all people are safe from police terror.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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