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Law enforcement conducts another clearing operation at future Atlanta police training facility, no arrests made

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed the multi-agency law enforcement operation.

ATLANTA — A clearing operation wrapped up Monday at the future site of the Atlanta police and fire training facility. A protest movement that opposes "Cop City" has had semi-permanent encampments in the South River Forest area.

At least five SWAT vehicles and multiple law enforcement officers were seen scattered throughout the wooded area. 

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed the multi-agency law enforcement operation, which appears to be the largest and most visible clearing operation since one last month in which a Georgia State Patrol trooper was shot and an activist was killed.

Residents who live near the new site of the Atlanta Public Safety Training center said on Monday they are not pleased with the project.  

“I feel like I live in a war zone because it sounds like this all the time and it sucks,” said Margret Mason-Tate.

The mother even claimed that some of her neighbors are also feeling the heat of the new project. 

“I don’t know a neighbor of mine that is excited about this project and I know I’m not,” said Mason-Tate.

In a release, the bureau said no arrests were made in the operation.

"In an ongoing effort to ensure that the site of the future City of Atlanta Public Safety Training Center is safe and secure, the GBI, along with other law enforcement partners, conducted an operation to identify people who are illegally trespassing and/or engaging in criminal activity on the property," the release said

According to the release, agencies involved in the operation included the GBI, Atlanta Police Department, Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, DeKalb County District Attorney's Office, Georgia Attorney General’s Office, Georgia Emergency Management Agency, DeKalb County Police Department, and Atlanta Fire and Rescue.

Mason-Tate's said her concerns go beyond the construction noise as law enforcement seems to always be in the area, especially after an activist was shot and killed at the site last month.

“I’m terrified of police violence and if I am a woman, imagine what the other populations in the city are experiencing,” Mason-Tate added.

The GBI has said the activist, Manuel Esteban Paez Teran who was also known as Tortuguita, shot the trooper and was killed in return fire. That official version of events has been disputed by the protest movement, and Tortuguita's mother on Monday said she doesn't believe her child shot anyone. In particular, the lack of bodycam video - which GSP troopers do not wear - has become a point of contention in fleshing out what exactly happened during the shootout.

RELATED: Construction permit to be issued that will allow police training facility at center of protests to move forward

The opposition movement reached a peak with demonstrations through downtown Atlanta that left a police vehicle burned out and several buildings damaged, one of them targeted for housing the Atlanta Police Foundation. 

The Atlanta Police Foundation is the primary funder of the facility, which would be built on the Old Prison Farm site in south DeKalb County under a lease agreement with the City of Atlanta. The opposition movement has occupied the forest in encampments to stop its building for more than a year.


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