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61 leftist militants charged under Georgia RICO law

 September 6, 2023

On Tuesday, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr unveiled the indictment of 61 individuals linked to alleged "militant anarchists" and related activities under the umbrella of Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

The indictment came from the same Fulton County grand jury that also indicted former President Donald Trump and 18 others on RICO-related accusations, as the Daily Wire reported.

Background of the "Stop Cop City" Movement

The indictments are in response to allegedly extremist measures taken by certain individuals affiliated with the "Stop Cop City" initiative during the years 2020 to 2022.

Background information points to the creation of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center announcement as a catalyst for the group's activities.

The facility, which provides educational programming to first responders and police, received a hefty sum from taxpayers and is currently being developed on close to 400 acres in the Weelaunee Forest.

After plans for the center were announced, people connected to the aforementioned movement have been implicated in riots, inflicting damage to police vehicles, and other disruptive behavior designed to express opposition to this facility.

Carr suggests that these individuals have had a propensity for violence in pursuit of their anarchist objectives, a sentiment that gained momentum after the police-involved death of George Floyd in 2020.

However, the announcement of the training facility in 2021 appeared to provide the group with a fresh impetus for mobilization. A significant number of the indicted individuals hail from outside Georgia.

In March 2023, 35 individuals faced arrest after targeting construction machinery designated for the new facility.

Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum, speaking of a particularly tumultuous event in December 2022, emphasized the distinction between lawful protests and criminality:

The discourse of opposition is in city halls, it is in the public square, it is on the sidewalks. That is where you note your displeasure or your disagreement.

Schierbaum added, "It is not in Molotov cocktails. It is not in shooting fireworks at firefighters. … It is not throwing rocks at our squad cars. That is criminal activity."

January 2022 also witnessed incidents in which individuals in black attire set vehicles ablaze and defaced structures following a law enforcement officer's fatal shooting of an anti-police campaigner.

Coalition Responds to Indictment

The Cop City Vote Coalition, responding to the recent indictment, contended that Carr's steps were not just an insult to its members but to the broader quest for racial fairness and justice.

The coalition strongly expressed its viewpoint, saying:

Carr's actions are a part of a retaliatory pattern of prosecutions against organizers nationwide that attack the right to protest and freedom of speech.

The statement added, "The Cop City Vote coalition strongly condemns these anti-democratic charges."

"We will not be intimidated by power-hungry strongmen, whether in City Hall or the Attorney General’s office. Chris Carr may try to use his prosecutors and power to build his gubernatorial campaign and silence free speech, but his threats will not silence our commitment to standing up for our future, our community, and our city," the group concluded.