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Protesters in Atlanta, are calling for violence against police officers and law enforcement entities following a police-involved shooting on Wednesday that left a state trooper wounded and one man dead.
The Twitter account Scenes from the Atlanta Forest calls for a “Night of Rage” on Friday to enact “reciprocal violence to be done to the police and their allies,” according to the Scenes from the Atlanta Forest Twitter account.
“Consider this a call for reciprocal violence to be done to the police and their allies. On Friday, January 20th, wherever you are, you are invited to participate in a night of rage in order to honor the memory of our fallen comrade,” the group wrote on Twitter, in an apparent violation of the platform’s terms and conditions.
The account claims to be a part of Defend the Atlanta Forest, one of the multiple groups protesting in an area where the city is set to construct the new Atlanta Public Safety Training Center.
GEORGIA STATE TROOPER SHOT BY PROTESTER AT ‘COP CITY’ NEAR ATLANTA
State troopers stand with a DeKalb, Georgia, police officers on Constitution and International Park in Atlanta on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. (John Spink/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
The Defenders of the Forest said in a statement to Fox News Digital that it is “a broad, diverse, decentralized movement to defend the Atlanta forest.” They went on to say they are only a “news aggregator for the movement” and “not affiliated” with Scenes from the Atlanta Forest.
In another tweet, posted several hours later, the group added: “The police will kill you if given the chance. Now is the time for bravery. Take care of each other. Be dangerous together.”
The group appeared to acknowledge the post was against Twitter’s rule not to incite violence as it said in yet another tweet that its account “is not long for this world.”
The upcoming event comes after a Georgia State Patrol trooper, wearing a bulletproof vest, was shot in the abdomen Wednesday morning. It happened as police tried to clear an encampment near the site where the $90 million Atlanta Police Department (APD) facility will be constructed.
Police at the scene where a Georgia state trooper was shot on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. (Fox 5 Atlanta)
The sweep was conducted as “an operation to identify people who are trespassing and committing other crimes on the property,” the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said.
“At about 9:00 a.m. today, as law enforcement was moving through the property, officers located a man inside a tent in the woods. Officers gave verbal commands to the man who did not comply and shot a Georgia State Patrol Trooper,” GBI said in a statement. “Other law enforcement officers returned fire, hitting the man.”
“Law enforcement evacuated the Trooper to a safe area. The man died on scene,” it added.
The bureau continued: “The injured Georgia State Patrol Trooper was taken to a local hospital where he underwent surgery. A handgun and shell casings were located at the scene. The GBI is working the officer-involved shooting and the investigation is still active and ongoing.”
The identities of the officer and the deceased have not yet been released. The officer was hospitalized and is in stable condition.
DeKalb, Georgia, and Atlanta SWAT members are pictured leaving the Gresham Park command post in Atlanta on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. (John Spink/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
“The individual who fired upon law enforcement and shot the trooper was killed in the exchange of gunfire,” GBI director Michael Register said. (John Spink/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
During a press conference, GBI director Michael Register confirmed that the shooting was in self-defense after the now-deceased individual opened fire “without warning” on the trooper.
“An individual, without warning, shot a Georgia State Patrol trooper,” Register told reporters. “Other law enforcement personnel returned fire in self-defense and evacuated the trooper to a safe area. The individual who fired upon law enforcement and shot the trooper was killed in the exchange of gunfire.”
Four others were arrested at the scene and taken to the DeKalb County Jail. Charges are pending.
“They’re endangering the community and the citizens around this area,” Register said of the encampment and the protesters, FOX 5 Atlanta reported.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp also commented on the shooting and said he and his family were praying for law enforcement officers.
“Marty, the girls, and I are praying for this brave Trooper and public safety officers across all law enforcement agencies today,” he tweeted Wednesday morning. “As our thoughts remain with him and his family, our resolve also remains steadfast and strong to see criminals brought to justice.”
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The joint task force formed to combat ongoing criminal activity at the APD site includes the GBI, Atlanta Police Department, Georgia Attorney General’s Office, DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office, Georgia State Patrol, FBI, DeKalb County Police Department, Department of Natural Resources, and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA).
Georgia state troopers stand along Key Road in Atlanta on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. (John Spink/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Defend the Atlanta Forest held a vigil Wednesday evening at the Little Five Points Square to “memorialize the forest defender” that was “murdered by the police,” it announced on Twitter.
“Today the police shot and killed a forest defender below the canopy of our beloved forest,” the group said. “No one can bring our friend back to us. An innocent life has been taken and the machines continue.”
“We will not go quietly into this dark night,” it added.
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“Police killed a forest defender today, someone who loved the forest, someone who fought to protect the earth & its inhabitants,” the group continued in a tweet.
And: “This is why we organize to stop Cop City. And we will. In honor of their life, and the lives of everyone killed and imprisoned by the police.”
The group also announced another event on Jan. 21, where members are encouraged to “wear black in mourning” for the dead member.
These events come amid heightened tension between protesters and the police, involving several arrests over several months over the APD construction.
“The Atlanta Police Department seeks to turn 300 acres of forest into a tactical training compound featuring a mock city. This project was announced to the shock of community members who had been given no opportunity to weigh in on the proposal. The entire process has been shadier than the forest itself,” Defend the Atlanta Forest’s website reads.
According to the group, they are explicitly protesting the new “Cop City” as it will “hyper-militarize law enforcement” and “will serve as a national model of police militarization and budgetary bloat.”
The group names the 2020 death of George Floyd and others as its motivation to protest police violence.
A man holds up his hands while marching following the guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin on April 20, 2021, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images)
People march following the guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin on April 20, 2021, in Atlanta. (Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images)
The group also claims it does not advocate for violence and that “no one has been harmed by participants in this movement.”
Last week, anarchists in Atlanta also targeted Brasfield & Gorrie, the general contractor of the police facility, and spray-painted graffiti on its buildings.
“B&G stop cop city,” the graffiti read, according to photos. “We have the numbers,” another spray-painted message read.
Also, last month, police arrested five people at the APD site location. They were also charged with domestic terrorism.
On Dec. 14, the GBI wrote: “Yesterday, December 13, 2022, our agents assisted APD and other local, state, and task force members in an operation to remove barricades blocking some of the entrances to the training center.”
“Prior to yesterday’s operation, APD and other agencies had made several arrests over the past few months for the ongoing criminal activity at the site location. Some of the criminal activities include carjacking, various crimes against persons, destruction of property, arson, and attacks against public safety officials. Law enforcement continues to address the criminal acts committed by the individuals that continue to occupy the area of the proposed training site,” it said.
Atlanta’s authorities arrested Francis Carroll, age 22, of Maine, Nicholas Olson, age 25, of Nebraska, Serena Hertel, age 25, of California, Leonardo Vioselle, age 20, of Macon, Georgia, and Arieon Robinson, age 22, of Wisconsin, on Dec. 13, 2022. (DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office/Georgia Bureau of Investigation)
The arrested individuals included Francis Carroll, age 22, of Maine, Nicholas Olson, age 25, of Nebraska, Serena Hertel, age 25, of California, Leonardo Vioselle, age 20, of Macon, GA, and Arieon Robinson, age 22, of Wisconsin.
“After police cleared the area of concern, which included makeshift treehouses, they found explosive devices, gasoline, and road flares,” the GBI said in its statement on Jan. 14.
DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston said those who were arrested had attacked firefighters and police officers with rocks and weapons as the officers removed barricades blocking some entrances to the site, according to FOX 5 Atlanta.
The investigation into the activities at the APD site is active and ongoing. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact local law enforcement or the GBI at 1-800-597-TIPS.
Fox News’ Paul Best contributed to this report.