After a shooting last week near a contentious prospective police enforcement training site left a Georgia state trooper wounded and a man dead, Governor Brian Kemp announced a state of emergency on Thursday and activated 1,000 National Guard troops to quell violent protests in downtown Atlanta.
The emergency declaration is set to expire on February 9 unless the governor extends it.
The Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, or “Cop City,” has become the focus of protests throughout the city. There have been protesters at the site for months, but on January 18 one of them, named Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, was shot and killed by law enforcement during a multi-agency operation to remove protesters from the area.
Authorities stated he had shot and wounded a Georgia state trooper. The soldier was taken to the hospital, where he thankfully recovered.
At the “Cop City” protests on January 21, a police vehicle was set on fire and six individuals were arrested. Mayor Andre Dickens of Atlanta claimed that several of the protesters who were arrested had explosives with them. There were no reported injuries.
In his proclamation of an emergency, Kemp made reference to the wreckage of a car.
“Masked activists threw rocks, launched fireworks, and burned a police vehicle in front of the Atlanta Police Foundation office building,” the declaration read, in part. “Georgians respect peaceful protests, but do not tolerate acts of violence against persons or property.”
The state of emergency declaration authorizes the Georgia National Guard to be used in response to continued protests. Activated troops will have “the same powers of arrest and apprehension as do law enforcement officers.”
The Atlanta Police Department confirmed to CBS News in a statement that they are keeping an eye on the situation in Memphis following the death of Tyre Nichols on January 10, three days after a violent traffic encounter. On Thursday, the five cops involved in the arrest were charged with second-degree murder. On Friday afternoon, authorities are scheduled to reveal video footage of the arrest.
“We are closely monitoring the events in Memphis and are prepared to support peaceful protests in our city,” Atlanta police said. “We understand and share in the outrage surrounding the death of Tyre Nichols. Police officers are expected to conduct themselves in a compassionate, competent, and constitutional manner and these officers failed Tyre, their communities, and their profession. We ask that demonstrations be safe and peaceful.”