ATL: Georgia Attorney General brings RICO indictments against 61 activists

cross-posted from the Atlanta Press Collective

The Georgia Attorney General’s Office filed RICO (racketeering-influenced and corrupt organizations) indictments against 61 individuals alleged to be part of the Stop Cop City Movement.

The indictments were filed Aug. 29, but went unannounced and unnoticed until the Atlanta Community Press Collective broke the story on X, the platform previously known as Twitter, Tuesday morning.

The RICO charges are the latest event in a years long protest movement against the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, dubbed “Cop City” by opponents.

Activists with the Stop Cop City Movement long warned that RICO indictments would be used against the movement. The Atlanta Solidarity Fund issued a press release on Feb. 27 announcing that RICO indictments were forthcoming. The Atlanta Police Foundation, the organization responsible for construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, told its Board of Directors and contractors for the project that it expected indictments against Stop Cop City activists in early February.

“The notion that RICO would be invoked to punish protestors engaged in a widely-supported challenge to a government decision is a giant leap in the wrong direction,” said attorney Don Samuel in February. “Threatening peaceful protestors with a seizure of their money and a twenty-year prison sentence not only mocks the purpose of the statute, it represents an assault on the most important and cherished rights of all American citizens: the right to protest, the right to seek redress of grievances, the right to enlist friends, colleagues, and the community to change government policy because the citizens want change.”

Three organizers with the Atlanta Solidarity Fund who were arrested and charged with charity fraud in May are also included in the indictments. The 109-page indictment filing broadly paints the Solidarity Fund organizers as the center of the RICO conspiracy, blaming the three for every post to website, reimbursing indicted and unindicted alleged co-conspirators for various supplies. In addition to RICO charges, each of the three Solidarity Fund organizers have also been charged with 15 counts of money laundering from transactions dating back to Jan. 12, 2022, for as little as $11.91 for the purchase of glue.

All 43 individuals previously charged with domestic terrorism are listed in the indictment. Other indicted individuals include three who were arrested in April while allegedly passing out flyers with the names of the Georgia State Patrol officers who killed environmental activist Manuel “Tortuguita” Paez Teran in January; five arrested for criminal trespass in the Weelaunee Forest in May 2022; and at least three arrested in Cobb County protesting construction company Brasfield & Gorrie, the general contractors for the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center construction project.


From the RICO indictment filing: (148) On or about January 18, 2023, Geoffrey Parsons did sign his name as “ACAB.” This was an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.


Several individuals with no previous arrests associated with the Stop Cop City movement were also included in the RICO indictments.

The indictment contains dozens of allegations for acts ranging from throwing Molotov cocktails to an individual signing their name as “ACAB.” Prosecutors have provided no evidence of these charges in an open court.


From the RICO indictment: (209) One or about March 5, 2023, THOMAS JURGENS did join an organized mob and succeeded in overwhelming the police force, thereby aiding and abetting in the offense of Arson and Domestic Terrorism in an attempt to occupy the DeKalb forest and prevent the building of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. This is an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.


One of the individuals charged in the RICO conspiracy is Thomas Jurgens, who was acting as a legal observer at a music festival March 5. Jurgens was arrested while wearing a bright yellow hat marking him as a legal observer.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, where Jurgens works as a staff attorney, issued a statement after Jurgens’ March arrest, saying, “We are outraged that police officers present at the protest refused to acknowledge Tom’s role as a legal observer and instead chose to arrest him. We are confident that the evidence will demonstrate he was a peaceful legal observer.”

All the RICO charges are dated May 25, 2020, the date George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis Police Officers. In previous bond hearings for Stop Cop City activists, Deputy Attorney General John Fowler argued that the Stop Cop City movement is directly connected to the George Floyd Uprising that took place over the summer of 2020. The indictment filing alleges that the autonomous zone created by protesters in the wake of the killing of Rayshard Brooks by Atlanta Police Department Officer Garrett Rolfe in a Wendy’s parking lot is also connected to the Stop Cop City Movement.

Scott McAfee, the judge originally assigned to the RICO case, recused himself Tuesday. McAfee’s recusal filing stated he had, “regularly collaborated with the Prosecution Division of the Georgia Attorney General’s Office and discussed aspects of the investigation that led to this indictment,” while in his previous role with the Georgia Office of Inspector General (OIG).

According to their website, “the State of Georgia Office of the Inspector General promotes transparency and accountability in state government.” It is unclear why McAfee was collaborating with the Attorney General’s Office while working within the Inspector General’s office.

Greg Bluestein of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that the grand jury used to indict former President Donald Trump and his associates on RICO charges in August was also used to indict the Stop Cop City activists. While Trump’s indictments are being prosecuted by Fulton County District Attorney (DA) Fani Willis, the Fulton DA’s office does not appear to be prosecuting the Stop Cop City RICO cases.

The Fulton RICO cases are not the only cases the Georgia Attorney General’s Office will be prosecuting against Stop Cop City activists. In June, DeKalb County DA Sherry Boston announced that her office was withdrawing from the prosecution of 42 cases related to the Stop Cop City Movement. “It is clear to both myself and the Attorney General that we have fundamentally different prosecution philosophies,” Boston told WABE’s Rose Scott.

Boston stated she did not believe charges would hold up against all the protesters and said her office would “only proceed on cases that I believe I can make beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The Cop City Vote Coalition – the organization behind a referendum effort that seeks to cancel the lease for the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center at the center of the Stop Cop City Movement — issued a press release condemning the indictments, which they called “authoritarian.”

“The Cop City Vote coalition strongly condemns these anti-democratic charges,” said the press release. “We will not be intimidated by power-hungry strongmen, whether in City Hall or the Attorney General’s office. [Georgia Attorney General] Chris Carr may try to use his prosecutors and power to build his gubernatorial campaign and silence free speech, but his threats will not silence our commitment to standing up for our future, our community, and our city.”

The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) issued a call for lawyers to represent those facing RICO indictments.

“We are urgently seeking licensed Georgia attorneys available to represent community members and fulfill our mission to protect the right to dissent,” SCHR announced on the X platform.

None of the 61 individuals indicted have been arrested on the new charges as of Tuesday afternoon.

Montgomery County, VA: Two Pipeline Fighters Lock to Another MVP Worksite

cross-posted from Appalachians Against Pipelines.

Early this morning, two pipeline fighters locked themselves to equipment on a Mountain Valley Pipeline worksite in eastern Montgomery County, VA which stopped work for over 5 hours. Nearby, a rally of over 20 people gathered to show support for the protest.

This action came on the anniversary of the start of the Yellow Finch treesits which stopped the destruction of the last stand of trees in the pipeline’s way for over 2 1/2 years! MVP is now over 5 years past their goal in-service date of 2018 and are billions over budget.

One protestor who locked to equipment said: “For me, blocking construction on MVP is joyful militancy. It is feeling the expansive power of disrupting capitalistic extraction and protecting the mountains and waterways that began their formation a billion years ago.

This protester references the book “Joyful Militancy” by Nick Montgomery and Carla Bergman. The book explains, “Joyful militancy, then, is a fierce commitment to emergent forms of life in the cracks of Empire, and the values, responsibilities, and questions that sustain them.”

A banner at the site read: “STOP COP CITY NO MVP.” The phrase “Stop Cop City” is a slogan used by a nationwide movement against the construction of a militarized police training facility, dubbed “Cop City,” on 381 acres of urban forest in southeast Atlanta.

The movement to stop MVP parallels the movement to stop cop city. Both projects have been pushed through by politicians who bow down to corporations against the pleas of their constituents. Both projects inflict violence against local communities and worsen the climate crisis.

Both face police repression… Recently, in an unprecedented abuse of legal intimidation tactics, over 60 people have been indicted in a Georgia court on RICO charges for resisting construction of Cop City. More than 40 of those also face domestic terrorism charges.

After being extracted and arrested today, pipeline fighters face $2000 and $3000 bail. At the rally, 1 person was cited for trespassing after moving to where police instructed & 2 people received traffic violations for stopping briefly in a public road to load/unload passengers.




UK: Earth First! squats proposed new coalmine in Whitehaven

cross-posted from Earth First! UK

We squatted the site for this year’s EF! summer gathering! It’s the site of the proposed new coalmine in Whitehaven. Please come and join us, it’s beautiful and we need you!

We have chosen to occupy the site of the proposed Whitehaven mine to send a message to those on these Isles and across the world: This mine will not go ahead, leave the coal in the hole!

The world is burning. More and more people are waking up to the reality we are faced with: we must end not just fossil fuels but also the capitalist system that places profit above planet and people.

West Cumbria Mining Ltd (WCM Ltd) want to extract 2.78 million tonnes of coking coal each year from Whitehaven, right up to 2049. The mine is proposed at the contaminated brownfield site of the former Marchon Chemical Works.WCM Ltd. claims the coal mine would be carbon neutral, but that’s a lie. The use of the coal from this coal mine (downstream emissions) is not counted in its emissions. The mine itself would directly release methane (a powerful greenhouse gas). WCM Ltd say it’d offset emissions, but even the offsetting company that WCM Ltd. said it would use is against its use in this project.

Some claim that mining coal in Cumbria means that coal is not imported, so lowering emissions relating to transporting the coal shorter distances. But this is coal for export and transporting it makes up a very small proportion of overall emissions from using coal. If this mine goes ahead, it wouldn’t reduce coal mining abroad, this coal would be extra to what’s already being mined around the world. Something the climate cannot tolerate.

Whitehaven and West Cumbria have a history of coal mining, with hundreds of workers dying in accidents in undersea mines. Where exactly those historic mines lie is unknown. It’s feared new mining will unsettle old workings and release toxins into the sea.

There are numerous groups and individuals campaigning against the proposed mine here. There is also a strong desire for more jobs in Whitehaven. The biggest local employer is Sellafield nuclear power station just down the coast. Local people have an attachment to the community and solidarity the coal mines used to provide. But there are better ways to create jobs through renewable energy, while more coal use worsens the climate and puts coastal and flood risk communities in jeopardy.

Hundreds of new houses are being built adjacent to the proposed site. The concrete pads on the former Marchon Chemical Works site seal in contamination from the former factory. To start work here would mean removing this contamination and driving it past the new houses, this may result in air borne toxins.

Check out for more details on this application. The campaign to keep this, and all coal, underground has space for everyone and their talents. Get involved.

Together we can stop the proposed Whitehaven coal mine.

PODCAST: The Global Garbage Crisis w/ Author Oliver Franklin-Wallis

cross-posted from the Green and Red Podcast

In much of the developed world, waste is out of sight and out of mind. The world generates around 2 billion tons of municipal solid waste annually, with at least 33% of it not managed in an environmentally safe manner, according to a 2018 World Bank report. Though high-income countries only account for 16% of the world’s population, they generate about 34% of the world’s waste each year. A third of all food produced is wasted and ends up in the garbage can. Plastic waste is another mounting issue: Across the globe, less than 10% of it is recycled, according to the most recent data from 2018 published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Plastic waste has more than doubled globally since 2000.

Listen in:

In our latest, we talk with journalist, and author of “Wasteland: The Dirty Truth About What We Throw Away, Where It Goes, And Why It Matters,” Oliver Franklin-Wallis (@olifranklin) and take a deep dive into the global waste crisis.

Bio// Oliver Franklin-Wallis is an award-winning magazine journalist, whose writing has appeared in WIRED (where he is a contributing editor), British GQ, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Times Magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine, 1843, and many other publications. He’s also the author of “Wasteland: The Dirty Truth About What We Throw Away, Where It Goes, And Why It Matters.”