In Georgia, the Atlanta Police Department has released four body-camera videos recorded during the deadly January 18 raid on an encampment of activists opposing “Cop City,” a proposed $90 million police training complex in the Weelaunee Forest. Twenty-six-year-old Manuel Esteban Páez Terán, who went by the name Tortuguita, was shot dead by police during the raid. A private autopsy commissioned by Terán’s family found they were struck by at least 13 bullets. The videos don’t directly show Terán’s death, but the sound of the gunfire is clearly audible in the footage.
Police officer: “Oh [bleep]. Is this target practice?”
The Georgia State Patrol says it does not have footage of Terán’s killing because it doesn’t issue body cameras to its officers. The Atlanta police footage shows some officers warned about the threat of crossfire and questioned whether the wounded state trooper was shot by another officer.
Police officer: “You [bleep]ed your own officer up. … Did they shoot their own man? Hmm?”
Police have said the injured officer was hit in the stomach by a bullet fired by a 9mm pistol purchased by Terán. Georgia’s Department of Public Safety said it would not release the name of the trooper, “because disclosure would compromise security against criminal or terroristic acts due to retaliation.”
The video’s release comes after a member of a Community Stakeholder Advisory Committee for Cop City filed an appeal, claiming DeKalb County improperly issued a license for the project. Another committee member, Nicole Morado, resigned in protest of Terán’s killing. Morado said, “Deescalation is possible, and a family lost a child because all they wanted to was save a forest, and that doesn’t sit well with me.” Click here to see our coverage of Cop City and the killing of Tortuguita.