Five people are being held without bond following their arrests Tuesday on domestic terrorism and other charges while protesting at the site of a planned public safety training center in Atlanta.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday in a news release it was part of a joint task force with the Atlanta Police Department that made previous arrests over criminal activity at the site of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center in DeKalb County. Journalist Andy Ngo reported antifa and other left-wing extremists have been protesting at the site for months because they don't want it to become a "cop city." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the protesters also objected to the $90 million project because of environmental concerns.
On Tuesday, the GBI said people threw rocks at police cars and attacked EMTs outside neighboring fire stations with rocks and bottles. It said task force members arrested individuals who were occupying makeshift treehouses; and after police cleared the area of protesters, they found explosive devices, gasoline and road flares.
The individuals arrested on domestic terrorism charges, according to the GBI, are Leonardo Vioselle, 20, of Macon, Georgia; Arieon Robinson, 22, of Wisconsin; Francis Carroll, 22, of Maine; Nicholas Olson, 25, of Nebraska; and Serena Hertel, 25, of California. They made their first court appearance Thursday in DeKalb County and were held without bond. If convicted of domestic terrorism, each faces a sentence of between five and 35 years, according to The AJC.
"I strongly believe in the right to peacefully protest for what one believes is right and just," DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston, a Democrat, said Thursday in a news release. "However, I draw the line at violence, destruction of property, and threatening and causing harm to others.
"My office will always stand up to protect the citizens of DeKalb County. The alleged acts of violence at the training facility site put the public in grave danger and will not be tolerated."
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, praised law enforcement personnel for making the arrests.
"We will not rest when it comes to bringing domestic terrorists to justice, and these arrests should serve as a strong reminder of that," Kemp tweeted Wednesday.
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