None of the Georgia State Troopers who were involved in the shooting death of Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran in January will face any charges.
As ABC News reported, Teran, a 26-year-old Indigenous queer and non-binary environmental activist and community organizer, was killed during a raid on a campground that was being occupied by environmental activists protesting against the “Cop City” complex planned for the city of Atlanta. Teran’s autopsy report indicates the officers did not have any gunpowder residue on their hands, officials have claimed that Teran fired the first shot, and then the officers returned fire.
Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney George R. Christian released a statement detailing the findings of his investigation on Oct. 6.
“The use of lethal (deadly) force by the Georgia State Patrol was objectively reasonable under the circumstances of this case,” Christian wrote. “No criminal charges will be brought against the Georgia State Patrol Troopers involved in the shooting of Manuel Perez Teran.”
According to the autopsy report, Teran (who used they/them pronouns) had 57 wounds to their body from gunshots, including the arms, legs, chest, and head. The family of Teran also had an autopsy conducted, that one reveals that Teran’s hands were up when they were shot, to which the official autopsy conducted by the state responded, “There are too many variables with respect to movement of the decedent and the shooters to draw definitive conclusions concerning Mr. Teran’s body position.”
Teran’s death was officially ruled a homicide, but the refusal to charge the officers means none of them will be held accountable for the murder.
In September, activists continuing the work of Teran’s protest against “Cop City” in a forest outside Atlanta, were hit with RICO charges by the state. According to The Intercept, the start date of their alleged racketeering conspiracy is listed as date that George Floyd was executed by the Minneapolis Police Department.The date was May 25, 2020, and this reportedly predates the announcement of plans for Cop City.
Mary Hooks, an Atlanta organizer and activist affiliated with the Movement For Black Lives, told the outlet, “As we see in the indictment, the act of mutual aid, the acts of our connectedness, are seen as a threat.”
Hooks continued, “But these things are exactly what we need for our safety and what we need in the face of rising fascism.”
The ACLU condemned the use of RICO charges against the protestors. Aamra Ahmad, the group’s senior staff attorney on their National Security Project said, “We are extremely concerned by this breathtakingly broad and unprecedented use of state terrorism, anti-racketeering, and money laundering laws against protesters.”
Ahmad added, “Georgia law enforcement officials are disproportionately wielding these overbroad laws to stigmatize and target those who disagree with the government.”
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