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Activist killed at public safety training site remembered by family, friends at memorial

Manuel Esteban Paez Teran was killed on January 19 during an encounter with law enforcement.

ATLANTA — Nearly 70 people gathered at the South River Trailhead on Sunday to remember Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, also known as Toruguita, who was killed in an encounter with officers in January. 

Paez Teran's family, friends and fellow activists gathered to spread his ashes at Weelaunee Park, a place he loved.

Teran's death was one of many incidents tied to the building of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Facility. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said law enforcement attempted to clear out people camping at the site.

Tensions escalated during the encounter when authorities stated Paez Teran pointed a gun at Georgia State Patrol officers, leading to Paez Teran's death and the shooting of a Georgia State Patrol officer.

Recently, attorneys for Paez Teran's family revealed that an independent autopsy showed Paez Teran's hands were up when he was shot and killed. The family is now suing for more information about the incident.

Despite the ongoing legal battle, those who came out on Sunday said they are undeterred in their fight against police repression and over-militarization. 

"This is a fight that touches every facet of the way we live and how we live. It's not only an environmental fight," said Reverend Kiana Jones, who spoke at the gathering. "The passion Teran showed for our cause will continue to propel us forward."

The pouring rain did not deter the group from honoring Paez Teran's memory and continuing their fight for justice.

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