Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency Thursday and activated 1,000 National Guard troops in response to ongoing violent protests in downtown Atlanta following a shooting last week near a controversial future law enforcement training site in which a Georgia state trooper was wounded and a man was killed.
The state of emergency is in effect until Feb. 9, according to the document, unless renewed by the governor.
The Atlanta protests center around the building of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, nicknamed “Cop City.” Protestors have been at the site for months, but on Jan. 18, a protestor identified as Manuel Esteban Paez Teran was shot and killed by law enforcement after authorities said he shot and wounded a Georgia state trooper during a planned multi-agency operation to remove protestors from the area. The trooper was hospitalized and survived.
On Jan. 21, six people were arrested after protests at “Cop City” led to property damage and a police vehicle being set ablaze. Some of the arrested protestors were found with explosives, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said. No one was injured.
Kemp specifically referenced the burnt car in his declaration of the state of emergency.
“Masked activists threw rocks, launched fireworks and burned a police vehicle in front of the Atlanta Police Foundation office building,” the declaration read, in part. “Georgians respect peaceful protests, but do not tolerate acts of violence against persons or property.”
The state of emergency declaration authorizes the Georgia National Guard to be used in response to continued protests. Activated troops will have “the same powers of arrest and apprehension as do law enforcement officers.”
The Atlanta Police Department also told CBS News in a statement that it is monitoring events in Memphis, and protests related to the death of Tyre Nichols, who died on Jan. 10, three days after a violent traffic stop. The five officers involved in the arrest were charged with second-degree murder Thursday. Video footage of the arrest is expected to be released Friday afternoon, officials said.
“We are closely monitoring the events in Memphis and are prepared to support peaceful protests in our city,” Atlanta police said. “We understand and share in the outrage surrounding the death of Tyre Nichols. Police officers are expected to conduct themselves in a compassionate, competent, and constitutional manner and these officers failed Tyre, their communities and their profession. We ask that demonstrations be safe and peaceful.”