Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced the indictment of more than 60 activists on RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) charges according to The Atlanta Journal. The indictment is part of an ongoing effort to stop the construction of Atlanta’s planned public safety training center in DeKalb County.
The indictment, filed in Fulton County, is being prosecuted by the Georgia Attorney General’s Office. A total of 61 protesters have been charged under the state’s RICO act. Some also face additional charges of domestic terrorism, arson, and money laundering.
“Our job is to enforce the laws of this state. As you can tell in this indictment, this is about violent acts plain and simple,” said Attorney General Chris Carr in a press conference.
The indictment primarily targets the Defend the Atlanta Forest group, described as an “anti-government, anti-police, and anti-corporate extremist organization.” According to the indictment, the group aims to occupy parts or all of the 381 forested acres in DeKalb County owned by the city of Atlanta. The land is leased to the Atlanta Police Foundation with the goal of halting the training center’s construction.
Prosecutors allege that the Defend the Atlanta Forest movement began in 2020, following the police killings of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks. The indictment cites 225 “overt acts,” including incidents involving Molotov cocktails thrown at the Georgia State Patrol headquarters and money transfers for those occupying the forest.
Georgia's Republican Attorney General Chris Carr is giving Fani Willis and the radical revolutionaries a taste of their own RICO medicine.
Carr has indicted 61 Antifa criminals and militant anarchists—who used domestic terrorism violence to try and stop a $90 million…
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) September 6, 2023
The Cop City Vote Coalition, a group of organizers, released a statement condemning the indictments and accusing Carr of seeking to “intimidate protesters, legal observers, and bail funds alike.” They vowed not to be intimidated by “power-hungry strongmen” in the Attorney General’s office.
Most of the acts mentioned in the indictment involve Marlon Kautz, Adele Maclean, and Savannah Patterson transferring money from the Network for Strong Communities to allegedly fund those occupying the forest.
“While the Network for Strong Communities portrays itself as a legitimate charitable social justice organization, we contend that this group is operating several bank accounts, commingling funds from various causes,” said Carr.
The case has been reassigned to Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Adams after the original judge recused himself due to prior collaborations with the Attorney General’s Office.
In March, the Atlanta Police Department released footage showing a group of Antifa protesters breaking into a construction site for a proposed police training facility in Atlanta. The video captured around 150 individuals dressed in black, wearing ski masks and camouflage, entering the site and setting off fireworks near police officers.
The police department’s statement revealed that the agitators threw large rocks, bricks, Molotov cocktails, and fireworks at the officers. They also destroyed multiple pieces of construction equipment through fire and vandalism.
The police detained 35 individuals involved in the illegal activities. Law enforcement agencies had a multi-layered strategy in place for dealing with protests, which included non-lethal enforcement methods for conducting arrests.
The Atlanta Public Safety Training Center had previously been a site of protests and even the death of a protester. The event followed other protests against the police, including one on January 21st, 2023, where protesters set an Atlanta Police Department vehicle on fire and damaged institutions supporting the facility.