Stop Cop City Activists Vandalize Banks in Tucson

AP Photo/Alex Slitz, File

The NY Times published a story Monday arguing that Georgia authorities have been too tough on "stop cop city" protesters who have engaged in acts of vandalism, arson and violence including the shooting of a police officer. Here's how it opens.


In a forest on the outskirts of Atlanta last March, hundreds of protesters had gathered once again to try to stop the construction of a new police and fire training center.

For Timothy Bilodeau, a 26-year-old who had flown in from Boston, the fight that began in 2021 had gained new urgency after state troopers killed a protester in a shootout in the forest weeks earlier that also wounded an officer.

On the day that Mr. Bilodeau headed in, there was another fiery confrontation. A crowd marched to the development site, where some protesters threw fireworks and Molotov cocktails, setting equipment ablaze. The police arrested nearly two dozen protesters, including Mr. Bilodeau.

That is a very carefully worded and I think intentionally misleading description of a police shooting. Twenty paragraphs later we finally get a bit more of the story.

Officials have said that the activist shot first, wounding a trooper, but protesters have remained skeptical, partly because the troopers were not wearing body cameras.

The Times presents this as a vague mystery when in fact the evidence, including audio of the shooting, strongly supports the troopers claim that Teran fired first, striking a trooper beneath his vest. They then responded with more than a dozen shots that killed him. As I've pointed out many times now, the bullet removed from the trooper matched a gun purchased by Teran which was found at the scene. Also, some of Teran's fellow "forest defenders" have admitted to knowing he had the gun in the woods with him prior to the shooting. 


By glossing over all of this, the Times' downplays the most serious violence carried out by a member of this group which seems sort of relevant when discussing how serious the group's violence has been. Eventually the Times comes to the decision, by the same grand jury that indicted Trump, on racketeering charges.

Mr. Bilodeau and 60 others are now facing racketeering charges, with prosecutors describing them as part of “an anarchist, anti-police and anti-business extremist organization” that conspired to block the training center. The first trial in the racketeering case could start in the coming weeks.

We're supposed to be shocked by this I guess but even the Times has to admit the group does seem to be lashing out destructively at anyone associated with the Atlanta Police Training Center, including construction companies in other states.

Construction companies in Georgia and beyond — including at least one mistakenly associated with the training center — have had equipment vandalized or burned, the authorities said.

I wrote about two different arson incidents which took place in South Carolina and North Carolina over the past few months. The South Carolina site was spray painted with messages including “From Weelaunee” and “You build it, we burn it.” There was also another arson attack last month where a construction crew was building townhouses.


Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said there have been more than two dozen attacks in the metro Atlanta area and other states that have targeted companies that have worked on the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center.

Schierbaum said Friday’s fire matches a pattern of attacks and an online post already claims some involvement.

Which brings me finally to the latest instance of vandalism connected to Stop Cop City. This one happened in Tucson, Arizona.

Shattered glass, broken windows, and words spray painted on buildings carried a message Sunday night in downtown Tucson, with “no cop city” written to reference a police training center in Atlanta, and a name, Tortuguita, who was killed in a protest last year to protect the Weelaunee Forest near Atlanta.

“We reject the idea that increased police presence equates to enhanced safety,” said Sam Bloom, a member of Tucson-based Splinter Collective, during a press conference Monday morning to present their message and address the arrests of three protestors.

As Tucson Police maintained a visible presence downtown, members of various groups such as Splinter Collective and United Church of Christ spoke as part of the Stop Cop City movement. They said that Wells Fargo and PNC, the bank branches that were targeted, are linked to projects “currently destroying forests in favor of more cops, more oil, and a certain march toward climate apocalypse.”


Of course people have the right to protest anything they want, including the police. But this group is clearly prepared to go beyond protest to vandalism, arson and (in one case) attempted murder. Treating this like a protest group makes no sense at this point. These people are using coordinated violence to achieve political ends. They should pay for it.

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