Eight antifa agitators were arrested in Atlanta on Tuesday, after they allegedly threw Molotov cocktails at police officers.
Atlanta Police were attempting remove them from the grounds of what will be the new Public Safety Training Facility for officers and firefighters. Anarchists opposing the construction have been camped out in a nearby forest for more than seven months. The group behind the protests is called the Atlanta Solidarity Fund.
Police said that protesters became combative. Some of them picked up rocks, while at least one Molotov cocktail was thrown at them and contractors working on the project.
“The action today was to remove some illegal structures that had been built on the site,” police said. “Fortunately, no one was hurt, and the eight individuals arrested were not harmed during this operation.”
Police on Wednesday released the names of seven people who were arrested:
• Phillip A Flagg, 28, Worchester, Massachusetts.
• Lee Ana-Gypsy, 38, Gainesville, Georgia.
• Elizabeth Hoitt-Lange, 24, Sea Cliff, New York.
• Erin Brault, 27, Sykesville, Maryland.
• Madeleine Kodat, 28, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
• Brooke Courtemanche, 26, Wooster, Ohio.
• Abigail E. Skapyak, 23, Minneapolis, Minnesota — two charges (Criminal trespassing and false name).
The agitators face charges ranging from criminal trespassing to obstruction of law enforcement.
In January of 2020, one of the agitators, 23-year-old Skapyak, proudly announced that she was offered an intern position at the U.S. Dept. of Justice in the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-related Unfair Employment Practices.
6 of the 7 are out of state from MA, NY, MD, PA, OH, and MN
All charged with Trespass. Abigail Skapyak (former DoJ intern) also charged for giving a false name
— AntifaWatch (@AntifaWatch2) May 18, 2022
Last week, another five were arrested in Atlanta in connection with a riot.
Charges include riot, terroristic threats and criminal property damage for shooting fireworks and throwing paint bombs.
Top- Katie Kloth, Hannah Kass, Julian Goldberg
Bottom- Joseph Turner + Tyler Norman pic.twitter.com/NfOrRZ3abP
— AntifaWatch (@AntifaWatch2) May 16, 2022
Atlanta police Assistant Chief Darin Schierbaum said “criminal acts” have been committed in Alabama and elsewhere as part of the radicals’ effort to thwart the project.
The FBI was on scene because those arrested had drivers’ licenses from Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Rhode Island, Virginia, New York and Minnesota. Schierbaum said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation found glass containers with an accelerant inside.
“There have been a number of concerted efforts to stop the building of the Public Safety Training Center by committing criminal acts here in Atlanta, in Dekalb County, in Birmingham, Alabama, and other states,” Schierbaum said. “And we appreciate the Federal Bureau of Investigation joining this investigation to stop these attempts of intimidation and stop these criminal acts for this Public Safety Training Center.”
“What is also very disturbing,” Schierbaum told reporters, is that “the majority of people being arrested here in Dekalb County and other places have drivers’ licenses from Pennsylvania, from Tennessee, from Rhode Island, from Virginia, from New York and from Minnesota.”
The Post Millennial’s Andy Ngo noted on Twitter that the radicals had “carried out violence in solidarity.”
Far-left extremists & #Antifa from across US have been going to Atlanta to support an occupation at a construction site for a future police training academy. They've created barricades & hurled firebombs at responding police. Comrades have carried out violence in solidarity. pic.twitter.com/pz4sHNHFu1
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) May 18, 2022
Ngo reported that the anarchists are using GoFundMe and Open Collect to raise money for their occupation.
Activists connected with the occupation reportedly vandalized a home in Dawsonville GA with graffiti because they believed it was owned by a company involved in the new training center.
However, the property had been sold and the new owners/family are not associated with the project.
“These aren’t individuals who represent the interests of the community that I stand here representing today,” Schierbaum said, pointing out that the majority of city council voted for a public safety training center that puts forward quality law enforcement, fire and EMS capabilities.
“We will not be deterred by the acts of a few that does not represent our community and our community values by attempting to harm those first responders today,” the assistant chief said.
The lawman warned that more of the forest occupiers could be subject to arrest if they do not leave the area in the peaceful manner, as the property is owned by the city of Atlanta does not have public access.
“We do know there are other people on the property now. We’re asking them to leave. It is illegal to be on the property. There is not public access here,” he said.
Schierbaum explained why the police training facility is important for public safety.
“I just direct you all to recent posting on our website, on our Instagram, on our Facebook, and on our Twitter. You’ll see actions of our police department administering CPR to an infant who has stopped breathing, you’ve seen our officers locate a dementia patient 74 years of age who wandered from her home and was located within four hours, you’ve seen our officer apprehending murderers and stopping active shooters,” he said.
“They have those skill sets because of training – quality, consistent training. And we believe every neighborhood of Atlanta deserves competent, well-trained police department and fire department,” the assistant chief continued. “And we are committed to ensure they have those services.”
The Atlanta Solidarity Fund, released a statement Wednesday afternoon, denying any wrongdoing, and accusing the police of “using a strategy of lies and intimidation” to suppress their occupation.
“It seems APD is hoping to distract attention from the violent crackdown they conducted against Inman Park neighbors and peaceful activists by showcasing an unrelated incident in a different location days later,” the statement read.
“Just this morning, those arrested on Saturday appeared in court and got all charges immediately dropped because there was no evidence to support police allegations. This reinforces our assertion that APD is using a strategy of lies and intimidation to suppress a political movement. It’s not acceptable in a free society to trample on the rights of civil protesters and when held accountable, simply change the subject.”