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World News | Autopsy: ‘Police City’ protester raised hands as he was killed

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DECATUR (United States), March 14 (AP) — An environmental activist was shot and killed while sitting cross-legged during a confrontation with Georgia law enforcement in January, families of protesters said Monday in announcing the results. Standing, hands in the air, the autopsy they had commissioned.

The family of Manuel Paez Terán held a news conference in Decatur to announce the findings and said they were filing a public records lawsuit to try to force Atlanta police to release more evidence about the Jan. 18 killing of Paez Terán, who was identified as Tortuguita and Use pronouns for them.

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The family’s attorney said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation had been investigating the shooting for nearly two months, preventing Atlanta police from giving the family more evidence. The forested area where Paez Terán was killed has long been dubbed a “police town” by opponents who have occupied the forest in protest of the development of the 85-acre (34-hectare) site into a large training facility for police and firefighters.

“Manuel faced death head-on and he was killed with his hands up,” civil rights attorney Brian Spears said, citing the autopsy’s findings.

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“We don’t stand here today to tell you that we know what happened. The second autopsy is a microcosm of what happened, but it’s not the whole story. What we want is simple: GBI, meet the family and issue an investigative report.”

In a statement, the bureau said it was preventing “the inappropriate release of evidence” to preserve the integrity of the investigation.

Paez Terán’s death and their determination to oppose the training center brought the “Stop Police City” movement to the national and international stage, with left-wing activists from across the country holding vigils and prompting some to travel and join the 2021 Some of the protests turned violent, including earlier this month when more than 150 masked activists left a nearby music festival and stormed the site of a proposed training center, setting fire to construction equipment and shooting down retreating law enforcement officers. Throw rocks.

After 26-year-old Paez Terán shot and critically wounded a state trooper, officers opened fire on him as officers dispersed the militants from forests in the Atlanta area, where officials planned to build a giant police and fire complex, authorities said. staff training center. The Bureau of Investigation said it continued to support its initial assessment of what happened.

Paez Terán has been camping in the forest for months, opposing the construction of a “police city”. The activist practiced nonviolence and accused authorities of state-sanctioned murder, family and friends said.

The Bureau of Investigation said there was no body camera or dash cam footage of the shooting and that ballistic evidence showed the wounded soldier was hit with bullets from a gun that Paez Terán legally purchased in 2020.

After an initial autopsy was performed by the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office, the family commissioned a second autopsy, Spears said. Officials have not released the DeKalb County report, so it is unclear whether they reached a similar conclusion that Paez Terán had his hands up, palms facing inward, at the time of the shooting.

“Manuel loved the forest,” said their grieving mother, Belkis Terán. “It gave them peace. They meditated there. The forest connected them to God. I never thought Manuel would die in the meditative position.”

The family’s autopsy report described Paez Teran’s body was torn apart, he had been shot at least a dozen times, and that “many wounds in his body converged, merged and intersected, making the ability to accurately identify each wound very limited, if not impossible. “

The report also said it was “unable to determine” whether the activist was in possession of a firearm when he was shot.

The autopsy was performed by Dr. Kris Sperry, who long served as the bureau’s chief medical examiner until a 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution report that Sperry “claimed to have worked hundreds of hours at the GBI when in fact he He was working for a client when he suddenly quit” his forensic science consulting firm. “

The Atlanta City Council approved construction of the $90 million Atlanta Public Safety Training Center in 2021, saying the state-of-the-art campus would replace substandard products and boost police morale, which has been plagued by recruitment and retention struggles after violent protests against opposition The racial injustice that roiled the city following the death of George Floyd in 2020.

In addition to classrooms and an administration building, the training center will include a shooting range, a driving course to practice chases and a “burning building” for firefighters to fight fires. A “mock village” featuring fake houses, convenience stores and nightclubs will also be built for authorities to rehearse raids.

Paez Terán moved from Florida last year to join activists in the forest who protested by camping on the site and building platforms in the surrounding trees. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)


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