Atlanta police, ATF, and FBI raid three homes in southeast Atlanta, one arrested and others detained

Police have charged one person with first degree arson while at least one other remains in police custody. Police said in an official statement that additional arrests are “coming soon.”

 

Updated (Feb. 9, 2024, 1:24pm): This article has been updated to reflect new developments since our original publication.

ATLANTA—On February 8, between 6 and 7 a.m., the Atlanta Police Department, FBI, and ATF conducted a joint multi-agency raid, with Georgia State Patrol also present, at three homes in southeast Atlanta. Two residences are in the Lakewood area, and the other in Starlight Heights. Police have arrested at least one person, John Mazurek, 30, and have charged them with first-degree arson, which police say is related to Stop Cop City protests.

At least one other individual was held in police custody until around 5 p.m., when they were released. Mazurek is currently being held in Fulton County Jail.

Mazurek’s bond hearing took place on Feb., Fri. 9, and was initially closed to media and the public due to a cyberattack, which has closed courts in Atlanta down for nearly two weeks. Media were eventually permitted to attend the trial.

A judge denied Mazurek bond the next day, on the grounds that they perceived Mazurek to be a threat to the community and a flight risk. Mazurek will remain in Fulton County Jail until his trial.

According to one search warrant from the raids obtained by Mainline, police seized a number of items, including laptops, iPhones, “Defend the Atlanta Forest” stickers, posters, and flyers, video cameras and tapes, among other things.

Search warrant documents obtained by Mainline from the Atlanta police raids on Feb. 8, 2024. Personal information has been redacted.

A resident at one of the homes who was raided this morning and was present for the arrest, told Mainline that when they asked police to see arrest warrants, police refused. Our source says they asked three times and were told that the police would leave the arrest warrant behind them after the search was completed. Our source confirmed that an arrest warrant was not left behind.

The same resident also said that that police dug up a nude photograph of them that was hidden privately under their bed, and then propped it up on display for others to see during the raid. Residents also said that police left a trail of destruction in their homes behind them, and the person arrested was removed from their home in full-body chains. Witnesses also told Mainline police pointed assault rifles in residents’ faces during the raid.

“These raids are an escalation at the federal level and an attack on the movement to disappear dissenters against Cop City,” said Stop Cop City activists in a joint statement released to the media. “We demand the immediate release of all detained and arrested activists. We will not be intimidated and the community will continue to apply a variety of strategies to oppose the construction of this dangerous facility.”

Today’s raid is the latest development in a widespread crackdown from the State of Georgia in response to the movement to Stop Cop City. On Jan. 18, 2023, Georgia state police violently shot and killed 26-year-old queer climate activist Manuel “Tortuguita” Terán. In August, the Georgia Attorney General announced a sweeping RICO indictment against 61 activists. On Mon., Feb. 5, Atlanta City Council passed what critics call voter suppression legislation to make Cop City referendum requirements more restrictive.

On the heels of these past city and state escalations against the movement, more potential state repression appears on the horizon. The Georgia state legislature recently passed widely criticized Senate Bill 63, which requires cash bail for more than 30 new offenses and makes it illegal for nonprofits and charitable groups to bail out more than three people per year. Critics say that the bill targets activist bail funds and social justice movements, and will also exasperate Georgia’s already detrimental prison and jail crisis, in which facilities are already extremely overcrowded. (Georgia prisons are currently under a Department of Justice probes that are investigating multiple human rights violations.) The bill has been condemned by the Southern Center for Human Rights and will face a legal challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia if signed by Gov. Brian Kemp into law.

“The resistance to Atlanta’s militarized police state is strong and continues to grow,” says Kamau Franklin, director of Black liberation group Community Movement Builders, in an official press statementThe police and jails must be stopped. They continue to murder people like Johnny Hollman and Lashawn Thompson without any accountability. The community stands in solidarity with all affected by the police repression against the movement to Stop Cop City.”
Organizers have announced a 5 p.m. press conference and rally today at the headquarters of the Atlanta Police Foundation at 191 Peachtree St. to provide further details on the raids.
This is a developing story and we will continue to report as things develop.

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