‘Cop City’ protester’s hands were raised when officer shot dead, family says

(CNN) A “Cop City” protester’s hands were raised as law enforcement officers attempted to clear the site of a planned plot. police and fire training near Atlanta opened fire, an autopsy commissioned by the activist’s family found, say the lawyers.

The hands of Manuel Esteban Paez Terán26 years old, who was killed in January, showed exit wounds on both palms, according to a press release from attorneys Friday. “The autopsy also reveals that Manuel was probably in a sitting position, with his legs crossed when he was killed.”

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said officers shot Terán after the activist seriously injured a state trooper during the move to clear the activists from the site.

Terán was near a planned $90 million, 85-acre law enforcement training facility where opponents had camped for months in an attempt to stop construction, CNN previously reported.

Attorneys for the Terán family said they plan to release the private autopsy on Monday at a press conference. They say the GBI, which is investigating the shooting, has not been transparent.

The activist’s mother, Belkis Terán, flew to Atlanta from Panama to show solidarity with the movement opposing the facility, called “Cop City” by opponents.

“Imagine that the police killed your child. And now then imagine that they won’t tell you anything. That’s what we’re going to do,” he said in Friday’s release about the second autopsy.

A photograph of Manuel Terán is seen in January at a memorial site near Atlanta.

The GBI against such claims, saying that it is careful not to make “inappropriate” releases of information, in order to “preserve the integrity of the investigation and to ensure that the facts of the incident are not contaminated. The GBI investigation still supports our initial. assessment.”

According to the GBI, Terán opened fire on law enforcement from inside a store after failing to comply with verbal commands, injuring the trooper. A handgun recovered from the scene matched the projectile from the trooper’s wound, the agency said.

There is no bodycam footage of the shooting.

“The GBI cannot and will not attempt to influence public opinion in this case, but will continue to be guided by facts and truth,” the agency said. “We understand the extreme emotion this has caused Teran’s family and we will continue to investigate as thoroughly as possible.”

In a statement Late Friday, the GBI said lawyers for the protester’s family incorrectly said the agency conducted the first autopsy. Instead, the GBI said, the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office performed the autopsy.

“The GBI continues to work diligently to protect the integrity of the investigation and will forward our findings to an appointed prosecutor for review and action,” the statement said.

Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, 26, was fatally shot by police during a protest over Atlanta’s proposed “Cop City” training.

The Atlanta Public Safety Training Center was built on a controversial piece of land that used to be a prison farm. Although it’s just outside city limits, that parcel of land is city-owned, which means residents who live around the site don’t have the power to vote for the leaders who own it. approved

Those who support the facility say it is needed to help boost police morale and recruiting efforts. Previous facilities are substandard while fire officials work in “borrowed facilities,” the Atlanta Police Foundation said. The foundation says the center will focus on “community-oriented” policing.

But “Cop City” received a fierce push from its conception by the residents who sit there there was little public inputconservationists who worry it will carve up some much-needed forest land and activists who say it will militarize police forces and contribute to more lawsuits. of police brutality.

Activists involved in protesting the installation called Terán a “defender of the forest” who works to fight environmental racism. They said Terán identified as non-binary and was a “sweet, warm, very intelligent and caring” person. Belkis Terán said that if his son had a gun, it was to protect himself against animals in the forest.

Twenty-three people arrested last weekend after violent protests at the site have been charged with domestic terrorism and all but one have been denied bond. Atlanta police say they were “violent agitators” who infiltrated a peaceful protest at the site and carried out a “coordinated attack” on officials and construction crews.

CNN’s Jaide Timm-Garcia and Christina Maxouris contributed to this report.

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