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Marjorie Taylor Green falsely claims slain Georgia activist killed police officer at Cop City protest

No police officer was killed in incident

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Wednesday 17 May 2023 19:48 BST
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Atlanta police release aftermath video of 'Cop City' activist death

During a hearing in the US House on Tuesday, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene falsely claimed that an activist in Georgia murdered a state police officer earlier this year, in what the Republican lawmaker framed as part of a growing trend of deadly left-wing extremism in America.

“Being a police officer is a target for antifa. They actually murdered someone there. They actually murdered a police officer. Oh, you don’t know. That’s right, because you don’t study left-wing extremism,” the Georgia Republican said during Tuesday’s hearing at the Homeland Security Committee, which was titled “‘Mostly Peaceful’: Countering Left-Wing Organized Violence."

“There was a 26-year-old activist Manuel Teran, shot and killed a Georgia state patrol trooper there,” she continued. “That was this year, you’re right, not last year, it was this year, so left-wing extremism is definitely on the rise and murder is a big part of it.”

Ms Greene’s comments are inaccurate. In January, Georgia police shot and killed Teran, who was camping in an Atlanta-area forest to protest the construction of a controversial new police training facility dubbed “Cop City.” No police were killed in the encounter.

As Amy Spitalnick of Human Rights First noted during the hearing, left-wing extremism is neither a major threat nor a deadly one, compared to other ideologies in the US.

"Every single statistic makes clear that the vast majority of extremist violence is perpetrated by those motivated by white supremacist and other right-wing ideologies,” she testified.

As the Anti-Defamation League noted in a recent report, “All the extremist-related murders in 2022 were committed by right-wing extremists of various kinds, who typically commit most such killings each year but only occasionally are responsible for all (the last time this occurred was 2012).”

“Left-wing extremists engage in violence ranging from assaults to fire-bombings and arsons, but since the late 1980s have not often targeted people with deadly violence,” the report adds.

The Georgia case Rep Greene referenced is highly debated.

Officials claim Teran fired upon officers, injuring a state trooper, and have said that a gun found in the slain activist’s possession matched bullet wounds on the wounded officers, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Teran’s family, meanwhile, argues the activist was a peaceful person who wouldn’t have fired on officers first.

A county autopsy performed last month found no evidence Teran fired on officers, noting the lack of customary gunpowder residue on Teran’s hands.

No body camera footage of the deadly encounter exists, though police body camera footage from agents nearby captures officers speculating that the shooting may have been a friendly fire incident.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation hasn’t released its full investigative report about the shooting to the public, but has given its findings to a special prosecutor in the Mountain City District Attorney’s Office for next steps.

As The Independent has reported, activists have spent years trying to oppose the training centre, which is slated to be built in a large forested area in a working-class Black neighbourhood outside of Atlanta.

Critics argue the training facility, which is set to feature massive mock city blocks and buildings for military-style police training, will cause pollution and further police violence.

“This project, from their own words, they’re planning on practicing high-speed car chases, bomb deployments. There’s going to be a shooting range. They’re going to be training on how to bust through peple’s doors,” Kwame Olufemi of Community Movement Builders, a grassroots organisation in Atlanta that opposes Cop City, told The Independent.

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