UPDATED: January 29, 2023 6:16 EST: An earlier version of this article stated that Manuel Esteban Paez Terán appeared to have been an immigrant. This fact has now been confirmed.
UPDATED: January 30, 2023 10:10 EST: This article was updated to include additional information regarding the calls for revenge made by black bloc.
On January 21, 2023 a number of organizations and individuals descended on Peachtree Fountains Plaza, a park located in a failed shopping mall in downtown Atlanta, to protest the death of Manuel Esteban Paez Terán (aka Tortuguita or “Tort”). Terán, an immigrant from Venezuala, had been camping on the site where a new police training facility is being built and was involved with the “Stop Cop City” campaign to put an end the facility’s construction. According to a statement made on January 18 by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, as multiple agencies were clearing the area of activists, Terán refused to comply with verbal commands and shot a Georgia State Patrol Trooper with a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm. Officers then returned fire, killing Terán.
In response to Terán’s death, Scenes from the Atlanta Forest, a blog involved with the campaign to stop the police training facility from being built, called for retaliation against law enforcement posting an image that said “A CALL FOR RETALIATION: Consider this a call for reciprocal violence to be done to police and their allies.” The next day the account was banned from Twitter, presumably for violating the platform’s terms of service. Defend the Atlanta Forest, another blog that has been supportive of the campaign, then called for their supporters to “wear black in mourning” and meet at Atlanta Underground at 5pm on January 21. According to an affidavit acquired by one online publication, Defend the Atlanta Forest has been labeled as a Domestic Violent Extremist (DVE) group by the federal government. Flyers discovered around Georgia State University also called for the public to “STAND UP – FIGHT BACK” by participating in Saturday’s event at Underground Atlanta. The flyer also called for participants to “WEAR ALL BLACK IN MOURNING”, echoing the graphic image published by Defend the Atlanta Forest.
Several flyers advertising the event were identified by a WMKI photographer at Georgia State University.
WMKI identified individuals associated with various anti-White organizations participating in the event, at least one of which has a history of instigating riots and engaging in racially motivated violence towards White advocates. The groups identified as either being openly involved with the event or that had members of their organization in attendance included Atlanta Revolutionary Medics, Atlanta Solidarity Fund, Refuse Fascism, Party for Socialism & Liberation (PSL), Copwatch of East Atlanta, Southern Center for Human Rights, and the National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG). At least one individuals who openly identifies with the violently anti-White “antifa” movement was identified as well, and we have reason to believe that individuals from various chapters of the TORCH Antifa Network were also in attendance.
As participants trickled into the plaza at around 5pm, a PSL member with a megaphone took charge of the event by speaking to the crowd that had gathered and engaged with them in numerous chants. These chants included a number of those commonly used at anti-White demonstrations prior to the activists themselves engaging in rioting. These chants included “When protesters are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!”, “No justice, no peace! No racist, Police!”, “Stop Cop City!”, and “What do we want? Justice! And when dow we want it? Now! If we can’t get it? Shut it down!”
While the rally proceeded, a WMKI photographer who had been monitoring the event captured two members of the black bloc making preparations to riot. Using the Refuse Fascism banner as cover, they pulled various items out of a backpack and a brown paper bag. The photo series published below revealed one of the individuals dumping the contents of a plastic bag into the hands of his comrade who held them while the other continues prepping. While the photographer was unable to capture an image of the packages contents, they were described as small white packets believed to be the explosives mentioned by Mayor Andre Dickens in a press conference that evening. As the one individual continued holding the contents in his cupped hands, the other placed a hollow metal pipe into his sleeve and zipped up his sweatshirt. The individual holding the white packets then gave them back to the other who then placed them into their sweatshirt pocket.
The state of Georgia has an anti-mask law for protestors to discourage individuals from engaging in criminal activity. § 16-11-38 states that “A person is guilty of a misdemeanor when he wears a mask, hood, or device by which any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer and is upon any public way or public property or upon the private property of another without the written permission of the owner or occupier of the property to do so.” In 2018, this law was used to arrest black bloc participants in Newnan, Georgia who were attempting to confront White advocates.
Our photographer overheard a security guard in the plaza discussing protesters over the radio hours before anyone had shown to the event, as well as local store keepers discussing it among themselves. It is unlikely that law enforcement was unaware of what was about to occur, however, when the event started no uniformed police were in attendance to make arrests based on Georgia’s anti-mask law. This does not mean that law enforcement was not monitoring the event, but that they were likely doing so with undercover agents with orders not to intervene, some of whom our photographer believed had been spotted by the nature of their attire and the earpieces they were wearing.
Following the speeches and chants, a PSL member initiated the march when he shouted “I know it’s cold out here ya’ll, so we gonna get this blood flowing, and we’re gonna get people energized. And so you know what we gonna do? We gonna take this shit to the streets! Because that’s what we need to do. Right? We gotta use that energy, use that anger, use that frustration, use that sadness, use all that emotions that are that are (inaudible) inside of each and every one of you, and we are gonna take it to the streets! Because that’s what we are gonna do! We’re fighting for justice, we’re fighting to stop cop city, we’re fighting for all the people who were victimized by police brutality. We gonna take it this way ya’ll to my left, because we gonna stop cop city!“
The activists then exited Peachtree Fountains Plaza on Pryor St SW, originally heading south towards the Fulton County Courthouse, but turned around after numerous black bloc participants began shouting to go north instead. As the procession changed direction, black bloc participants chanted “Every city every town, burn the precincts to the ground!” and shot fireworks into the air. They then took a left on Wall St. SW along the northern edge of the plaza and went north on Peachtree Street until they reached the Deloitte Peachtree Towers which houses the Atlanta Police Foundation.
The procession reverses direction on Pryor St. NW from heading south to the Folsom County Courthouse northwards
The procession heads northwards on Pryor St. NW after reversing direction.
As the group moved towards Peachtree Towers they chanted threats and calls for revenge in unison “If you build it, we will burn it” and “We want revenge, police killer our friend!” As they approached, black bloc terrorists attacked the building by smashing out the windows with chunks of concrete that they recovered from a black satchel left on the ground. One individual spray painted “Stop Cop City” on the wall next to the entrance. The mob then continued marching north on Peachtree Street where they attacked a police cruiser parked across the street from the Hardrock Cafe. The windows of the cruiser were smashed out with hammers as several of the individuals holding a banner strategically moved it to conceal the acts of vandalism from the public. They then lit it the vehicle on fire with a firework. The black bloc also smashed out the windows of Wells Fargo and Truist banks, along with their ATM machines. Shortly thereafter, police began making arrests and the black bloc rioters dispersed.
An Atlanta Police cruiser burns after being lit on fire by black bloc participants as hyper partisan National Lawyer’s Guild members watch.
Several items were left outside the Deloitte Peachtree Towers building, that included the black satchel used to carry the concrete chunks thrown at the windows and a USB Laser 303 that was dropped. WMKI filmed a black man in plain clothes, presumed to be an undercover officer, who approached the satchel and stood over it until a uniformed cop picked it up and placed it in the back of a patrol car. Discarded clothes also littered the street from black bloc participants changing into their all black clothing while marching down Peachtree Street.
A black satchel used to carry chunks of concrete for the attack on Peachtree Towers is picked up and placed in the back of a patrol car.
Six individuals total were arrested and charged with domestic terrorism, including Nadja Geier, 24, of Nashville, Tennessee; Madeleine Feola, 22, of Spokane, Washington; Ivan Ferguson, 23, of Nevada; Graham Evatt, 20, of Decatur, Georgia; Francis Carroll, 22, of Kennebunkport, Maine; and Emily Murphy, 37, of Grosse Isle, Michigan. Only one of the six arrested was a local Georgian, following the pattern over the last several years of the Stop Cop City campaign. This, however, does not mean that locals are uninvolved, as various political pundits have alleged. WMKI has been monitoring the situation as it has been unfolding over the last several years and has identified numerous local organizers and organizations involved. These locals are the primary agitators, and their protests have acted as a lighting rod for various extremists across the country to travel to Atlanta and whose aid has been given by locals.
Following our publication of photos from the event, local TORCH Antifa Network affiliate Atlanta Antifascists put out a call for information about our photographer. Given the well documented anti-White terrorism of the TORCH Antifa Network, WMKI considers the motives of Atlanta Antifascists to be that of violence and intimidation towards the WMKI contributor. Atlanta Antifascists have operated in and around the Atlanta area for over eight years, publishing the home addresses of local White advocates and libertarian capitalists who oppose them, as well as engaged in numerous riots since 2016. WMKI will continue to monitor this anti-White terrorist cell and report further on the organization when more information is available.