The anti-police protesters in Atlanta have really done their best to create a parallel universe in which the police shot a protesters for no reason. Police immediately claimed that the protesters shot first and hit a state trooper but protesters and those associated with them have circulated claims (without evidence) that the trooper might have been hit by friendly fire. For instance:
We have reason to believe the officer shot today was hit by "friendly fire" and not by the protester who was killed.
Do not believe the police and their media. Demand an end to police militarization and hands off the forest.
— Defend the Atlanta Forest (@defendATLforest) January 18, 2023
At the same time a press release claimed that police were willing to say anything in order to make this a case of self-defense:
The police and local news are working together to control the flow of information, leaving us with vague news reports that suggest the officer fired at the civilian in self-defense. We know they will say and do anything to prevent an Atlanta officer from being viewed as another Derek Chauvin, including witholding, distorting, or deleting evidence. Supporters of the movement are calling on legal observers and journalists to document the violent police tactics being used against protestors.
His mother would later claim he’d been “assassinated” by the police.
I spoke to #tortuguita's family for this story:
‘Assassinated in cold blood’: the man killed protesting Georgia’s ‘Cop City’ https://t.co/zTvrtHR2BP
— Timothy Pratt (@TimothyJPratt) January 21, 2023
Those are just a couple of examples. As I was putting together stories this week I saw several calls by sympathetic groups and individuals asking people not to believe the police narrative. The same groups and people have repeatedly claimed the shooter was “murdered” which seems to rely on the idea that police weren’t shooting in self-defense.
But that alternative narrative created by the protesters started to fall apart when police revealed they had recovered a gun and shell casings at the scene. Suddenly the idea that this was just friendly fire among the officers didn’t add up. The narrative took another big hit when police revealed that the gun was a match for the bullet removed from the wounded trooper. It was getting harder and harder to imagine some scenario in which the protester who was killed by police hadn’t shot at them first.
Today, the protester’s narrative is gone for good. Fox 5 in Atlanta is reporting the gun in question belonged to the protester who shot the trooper.
The gun used in the shooting of a Georgia State Highway Patrol trooper last week at the sire of the planned Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, which opponents have dubbed “Cop City”, was purchased legally by the shooter, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Investigators say they received confirmation Monday that the firearm used in the Jan. 18 incident was bought legally in September 2020 by Manuel Esteban Paez Teran…
Activists have questioned the police version of events and called for the release of law enforcement body camera footage. According to the GBI, the officers who were near the incident at the time of shooting were not wearing body worn cameras. Although the shooting is not captured on bodycam, there is bodycam footage of the aftermath, the GBI has said.
So it was his gun. The bullet fired matches his gun. He shot the trooper and was killed by the police who fired back in self-defense. Did no one who had lived there with this guy know he had a gun? I find that a bit hard to believe. Someone must have known. Some of the people who heard about this last week weren’t surprised. But they’re staying silent so the people around them can keep spreading this bogus narrative about police murdering an innocent “forest defender.” Unfortunately for them that narrative is about as accurate as “Hands up, don’t shoot!” was in the Michael Brown case.
Update: Another example of activists trying to spin a narrative about this shooting. This is from RevCom and was published today.
There are demands for a thorough, independent investigation into the killing—which many are calling a murder—and how it could have happened. The GBI did not report any guns being found after searching the campsites after the raid. Yet they claim they were returning fire on Tortuguita after a state trooper was shot and injured “without warning.” They say there is no bodycam footage of the killing. Now they have made public the photo of a gun they claim they found near Tortuguita’s body.
At least a half-dozen other protesters who were in the forest at the time have told other activists that a single series of shots could be heard. They believe the state trooper could have been shot by another officer, or by his own firearm.
Again, the police revealed they’d found the gun days ago. The gun matches the bullet found in the trooper’s body and it was legally owned by the man who was shot by police. This is open and shut at this point and still these creeps are leaving out any facts that don’t fit their narrative and claiming the trooper shot himself.