ATLANTA—Today the ACLU of Georgia sent a letter to Attorney General Chris Carr and Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Mike Register outlining grave concerns about the use of false accusations in arrests during protests related to the building of Atlanta’s proposed public safety training center.
We were alarmed from the very start, when the first arrests were made using the state’s domestic terrorism law to charge protesters who were exercising their First Amendment rights in opposition to state action. We were similarly disturbed by the arrests of three organizers of a group that provided bail money and representation to arrested protesters. All of the arrests represent a disturbing environment in Georgia. “The freedom of individuals verbally to oppose or challenge police action without thereby risking arrest is one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation from a police state.” (City of Houston, TX v. Hill, 1987)
The letter follows media reports that charges related to protests have been repeatedly justified by a designation that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security officially said does not exist. These false statements require the offices of Carr and Register, at a minimum, to address the injustices that have been brought against these individuals, and hold the bad actors responsible.
The letter requests the following:
- The source of information agents and prosecutors used for their allegations that Defend the Atlanta Forest group had been designated as a Domestic Violent Extremist organization by the Department of Homeland Security.
- What disciplinary action will be taken against the agents and prosecutors for the misconduct of using false statements to make arrests.
- A recall of the warrants based on the false accusations and termination of the prosecution of the victims of misconduct.