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Shootout between GSP trooper, activist heard in 'Cop City' clearing operation in APD bodycam video | Watch

The newly-released bodycam video provides context into the moments after the shooting took place, where a GSP trooper was injured and an activist was killed.

ATLANTA — Exactly three weeks after a Georgia State Patrol trooper was shot and an activist killed at the future site of a public safety training facility, the Atlanta Police Department released body camera video.

Four videos released by APD Wednesday depict different vantage points of the clearing operation conducted on Jan. 18. None show the shootout -- but one details the aftermath.

The footage offers a glimpse of the clearing operation at the site of the planned Atlanta Public Safety Training Center in DeKalb County, which sparked a yearlong protest movement known as "Stop Cop City." 

GSP was part of the operation, however, troopers do not wear body cameras. 

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has previously said GSP troopers encountered Tortuguita, whose legal name was Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, at the site. Authorities accused Paez Teran of firing at the trooper, leaving him hurt. Paez Teran was killed during the incident. A private autopsy done by the family revealed Paez Teran had been shot at least 13 times, leaving their loved ones questioning law enforcement narrative.

The newly-released bodycam video was made public to provide insight and context to law enforcement's response moments after the shooting took place. APD released a total of two hours of bodycam footage, saying more footage can be released in the coming days.

After the videos went public, the attorney for Paez Teran's family released a statement Thursday which said "more questions were raised than answered." The statement reads as follows: 

The videos released by the City of Atlanta raise more questions than they answer, but confirm the family's worst fears that Manuel was massacred in a hail of gunfire. The videos also show the clearing of the forest was a paramilitary operation that set the stage for the excessive use of force. The videos also call into question previous reports regarding the events leading to the police shooting of Manuel Paez Teran. The GBI’s refusal to provide the family access to the information in its possession continues to sow mistrust in it, particularly in light of the selective—and so far unsubstantiated—narrative it has put forth. The family of Manuel Paez Teran continues to call on the GBI and DeKalb County Medical Examiner's Office to agree to a face-to-face meeting in which they share all the evidence collected in the investigation to date.

In one video, about 18 minutes in, the first shot is heard with a barrage of gunfire following for nearly 30 seconds.

In the most insightful bodycam video, APD officers are seen walking in the woods. Over the officer's radio, you can hear, "We've got a green tent about 100 meters from the creek, fireworks going off. Male who is screaming. Not sure if it's any of the officers. Are all officers 'OK?'" 

After a few moments, another radio call is heard saying, "we've got one officer down." Officers then begin to move again as law enforcement in the clearing continue to communicate.

"All units hold the area. Who is with the officer who is injured? What agency is it? GSP SWAT. 'Can you give us a status?' He's ACB (alive, conscious, and breathing)," a conversation over the radio is heard.

Another law enforcement officer is heard asking for an active shooter. 

"Negative," a person responds over the radio. "No active shooter; suspect is barricaded in a tent." 

Officers then give commands to each other as they approach a tent. 

After more than 10 minutes of the exchange, you can hear law enforcement yelling in the distance, "Police! 'If you are in the green tent, come out with your hands up.'" 

Authorities repeat, "Police! Come out. Come out!'" 

One can hear more commands about a police K-9 coming to assist.

"Come out or you will be bit! F--- around and you're going to find out!" one officer is heard.

A few more moments pass until an officer is heard saying, "Atlanta police we have a non-lethal agent to be administered into the tent if you do not come out." 

It's at this moment, it appears something gets deployed. In the video, three loud bangs are heard. Officers repeat again, "Come out with your hands up." And more deploying sounds are heard. 

In the bodycam, everything goes quiet for a moment before more bangs and drone noise is heard overhead. Sirens are heard approaching. Several minutes later, a radio command is heard saying "All units clear."

At the end of the video, officers are discussing what happened. One of the officers asked, "Is the suspect still up there?" Another officer answers, 'No, they haven't called the medic, they haven't called for anything else."

The bodycam video ends as sirens get louder and an officer says, "They said fireworks, but that doesn't sound like fireworks."

You can watch all of the bodycam videos released in full in the playlist below. Strong language is used, viewer discretion is advised.

Story continues after the video.

Last week, an agreement was announced to allow for the construction permit to be issued for the public safety training center-- an appeal has been filed since. On Wednesday night, 11Alive obtained the following statement from APD: 

As construction moves forward at the site of the city's future Public Safety Training Center, the Atlanta Police Department has needed to shift resources to secure the property and protect the crews working there. Resources assigned to the site consist of officers from every division in the department. Commanders will be closely monitoring crime throughout the city and routinely assessing resource placement to ensure our ability to respond to and address crime elsewhere is not impacted. We are working closely with our local and state law enforcement partners who are supporting us through this process and we are extremely thankful for their partnerships.


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