Brian Kemp Declares State of Emergency After Anti-Police Riots, Activates Georgia National Guard

Gov. Brian Kemp (R) declared a temporary state of emergency in Georgia on Thursday and activated 1,000 Georgia National Guard troops in response to recent anti-police protests and destructive riots in Atlanta.

Kemp’s order referenced protests and riots that occurred on Saturday, which had stemmed from ongoing demonstrations against a police training facility the city is building in a wooded area of metro Atlanta.

The riotous events on Saturday had also come in response to the death of activist Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran, who state officials say was killed by law enforcement after he shot and injured a State Patrol trooper while at the site of the planned facility.

Atlanta officials, including Mayor Andre Dickens (D) and Police Chief Darin Schierbaum, said police on Saturday arrested six individuals after some of the protesters had turned violent and broken businesses’ windows and attacked police cruisers. Dickens noted some were found with explosives that “led to a police officer’s car being set on fire.”

“Make no mistake about it, these individuals meant harm to people and to property,” Dickens said.

The Atlanta Police Department published mug shots of those arrested — most of whom were out-of-staters — and listed the charges against them:

“Georgians respect peaceful protesters, but do not tolerate acts of violence against persons or properties,” Kemp wrote in his emergency order.

The governor cited “unlawful assemblage, violence, overt threats of violence, disruption of the peace and tranquility of this state and danger existing to persons and property” as reasons for the state of emergency, which is set to expire on February 9.

Kemp has from the outset of the protests taken a tough posture against those who go beyond peacefully demonstrating.

“These individuals are members of a broader network of militant activists who have committed similar acts of domestic terrorism and intimidation across the country with no regard for the people or communities impacted by their crimes,” Kemp said in a statement January 3.

Indeed, groups opposing the police facility, and now the death of Teran as well, have cropped up in other states, including Massachusetts and Oregon. Internet postings about the protests reveal they have adopted the phrase “stop cop city.”

In Massachusetts, 23-year-old Jared “Riley” Dowell, the child of the number-two Democrat in the House of Representatives, Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-MA), was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer and vandalizing a historic monument during a protest, according to the Boston Police Department.

The Boston officers had been on “high alert” for a “Solidarity with Atlanta Forest Defenders” on Saturday when they encountered Dowell among a group of about 20.

Write to Ashley Oliver at Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.

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