“ATLANTA POLICE ARREST ORGANIZERS OF BAIL FUND FOR COP CITY PROTESTERS” – The Intercept
“Heavily armed Atlanta Police Department SWAT team raided a house in Atlanta and arrested three of its residents. Their crime? Organizing legal support and bail funds for protesters and activists who have faced indiscriminate arrest and overreaching charges in the struggle to stop the construction of a vast police training facility — dubbed Cop City — atop a forest in Atlanta.
In a joint operation with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, or GBI, Atlanta cops charged Marlon Scott Kautz, Adele Maclean, and Savannah Patterson — all board members of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund — with “money laundering” and “charity fraud.” – The Intercept
What and where is Cop City? Who is funding it? Isn’t peaceful dissent constitutional? Get the big picture with this StoryMap.
Constitutionally protected rights to protest and dissent
“Providing mutual aid to people exercising their constitutionally protected rights to protest and dissent is not a crime.“When Dr. King was held in Birmingham Jail, churches and community groups including the NAACP came together to fund his bail…”, noted the Atlanta Community Press Collective.
The arrests are an unprecedented attack on bail funds and legal support organizations, a long-standing facet of social justice movements, according to Lauren Regan, executive director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center. “This is the first bail fund to be attacked in this way,” Regan, whose organization has worked to ensure legal support for people resisting Cop City, told me. “And there is absolutely not a scintilla of fact or evidence that anything illegal has ever transpired with regard to Atlanta fundraising for bail support.”
Dangerous precedent in criminalizing bail funds
“The charges indeed risk setting a dangerous precedent in criminalizing bail funds and legal support networks. “Bailing out protestors who exercise their constitutionally protected rights is simply not a crime. In fact, it is a historically grounded tradition in the very same social and political movements that the city of Atlanta prides itself on,” said Regan, the attorney, in a separate press statement. “Someone had to bail out civil rights activists in the 60’s–I think we can all agree that community support isn’t a crime.”
The arrests come just days after it was revealed by reporters that Atlanta officials have known for some time that the cost of building Cop City to the city of Atlanta would amount to at least $51 million in public funds, instead of the $30 million that city officials promised since 2021.” – The Intercept
Atlanta Solidarity Fund (ASF)
“When activists face repression, we stand with them, ASF provides support for people who are arrested at protests, or otherwise prosecuted for their movement involvement1. From the Civil Rights Era to today, Atlanta has strong traditions of dissent. Protest movements play a critical role in the struggle for social justice. But when people stand up for what’s right, they often face the risk of arrest and imprisonment.”
If you are a lawyer or other legal professional, and are interested in offering pro-bono help to activists, ASF wants to hear from you!”
Atlanta Community Press Collective
The Atlanta Community Press Collective (ACPC) is an abolitionist, not-for-profit media collective. ACPC’s goal is to make the day to day workings of local government accessible to the public and to provide an independent voice in a local media landscape increasingly dominated by corporate interests. – ACPC
TakeAway: Fight fascism that suppresses dissent. Protect your constitutional right to protest peacefully.
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