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 scenes.noblogs.org, 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.