Georgia state trooper shot, protester killed near proposed 'Cop City' training center site
This story was updated at 1:24 p.m.
Authorities say a Georgia state trooper was shot and a protester against a controversial Atlanta public safety training center was killed Wednesday morning.
The incident took place on Constitution Road in Southeast Atlanta near the future site of the training center dubbed “Cop City.”
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies were clearing protesters from the area Wednesday when they were fired upon, according to GBI Director Mike Register.
“Law enforcement returned fire in self-defense, struck the subject involved in the shooting and he’s deceased,” Register said at a press conference outside Grady Memorial Hospital.
The unidentified trooper is in surgery in stable condition at Grady, according to Georgia Department of Public Safety Col. Chris Wright.
The GBI is investigating the shooting. They are not identifying the alleged shooter until notifying the next of kin. Register said there “doesn’t appear to be” anyone else shot in the incident.
Wednesday’s incident comes after five demonstrators at the site were charged with domestic terrorism in mid-December after a clash with law enforcement. Eight protesters were also arrested in May. Gov. Brian Kemp has vowed to make more arrests of people protesting the site.
The Atlanta City Council voted to approve legislation authorizing a lease with the Atlanta Police Foundation for the center in September 2021. The vote came after months of delays, community protest and more than 17 hours of public comment.
Opponents of the training center have continued to protest the $90 million project, which would be built by the Atlanta Police Foundation, and DeKalb County’s land swap with Blackhall Real Estate Phase II LLC because they say the plans for the land will degrade Intrenchment Creek and the waters that flow into the South River. They also oppose investing so much money in what they call “Cop City” in light of the Black Lives Matter movement’s opposition to racial injustice in law enforcement.
Some people who call themselves “forest defenders” have been camping on the site since 2021. Police say they have been sabotaging construction efforts and the protesters have claimed they have driven spikes into trees to make them hazardous to cut down.
Demolition began for the project in late December.