1,300 climate justice groups call for independent investigation into police murder, demand ATL mayor resign
Jan. 31, 2023 (Atlanta, GA) — Today, over 1,300 Climate Justice and racial justice groups from across the U.S. joined Atlanta residents and community organizations’ call for the immediate resignation of Mayor Andre Dickens in light of the police murder of a protestor, Manuel “Tortuguita” Paez Terán, by a joint task force, including the Atlanta Police Department, in Intrenchment Creek Park on Wednesday, January 18th, 2023. The sign-ons included People Vs. Fossil Fuels a coalition of over 1,200 climate justice groups fighting to protect the land and water in frontline communities across the U.S, the Abolitionist Teaching Network, First Existentialist Congregation of Atlanta -Social Justice Guild, the Atlanta Justice Alliance, Jewish Voices for Peace, the Black Futurists Group, the BlackOUT Collective, Community Movement Builders, The Ruckus Society, ikiyA Collective,Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Unitarian Universalist Association, the Palestinian Youth Movement, and many more as seen here.
Photo: Rebecca Etter / WABE
CONTACT: Jennifer K. Falcon, 209-814-9670, firstname.lastname@example.org
Atlanta residents and community organizations call for the immediate resignation of Mayor Andre Dickens in light of the police murder of a protestor, Manuel “Tortuguita” Paez Terán, by a joint task force, including the Atlanta Police Department, in Intrenchment Creek Park on Wednesday, January 18th, 2023.
Over a week has passed since the murder of Terán, and Mayor Dickens has still failed to condemn the killing of the innocent 26-year-old by police, instead opting to condemn protestors and parrot the rhetoric of extreme right-wing governor, Brian Kemp. Within a few hours of the shooting, Dickens tweeted support for the injured state trooper and completely ignored the death at the hands of a task force which included Atlanta police officers on his watch. As a growing number of Atlanta residents, national and global news outlets, and human rights and environmental organizations worldwide call for an investigation of the police narrative of Tortugita’s death, Dickens has dismissed their concerns. He has refused to bring any scrutiny to the one-sided and unsubstantiated recounting of events. Dickens has yet to offer condolences to the slain protestor’s family.
When Atlanta Police murdered Rayshard Brooks in 2020, then-Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms accepted the resignation of APD Chief Erika Shields. In contrast, for the entirety of his term, Mayor Andre Dickens has refused to hear Atlanta residents’ growing call against the proposed police training facility known as Cop City. In fact, prior to becoming Mayor, Dickens voted to lease forest land to the Atlanta Police Foundation to build the unpopular police training facility. In a TV interview just days after Tortuguita’s death, Mayor Dickens attempted to paint the mass uprising of 2020 against police brutality as a call for more policing—a willful ignorance or manipulated retelling which shows Dickens is totally out of touch. Mayor Dickens has refused to come out against the domestic terrorism charges levied against peaceful protestors despite the American Civil Liberties Union and other legal experts warning against the baselessness of such charges. The use of these charges––clearly meant to chill free speech and intimidate supporters of the Stop Cop City movement––is increasing daily. Mayor Dickens has stood by as police violence and rhetoric towards protestors has steadily ratcheted up, including the use of chemical agents and militarized raids on small groups of protestors engaged in civil disobedience. Less than a month ago, Atlanta City Council members and activists rang the alarm about the dangers of escalated police violence after an aggressive raid on peaceful protestors on December 13th. Rather than use this as an opportunity to listen or reverse course, Dickens ignored the concerns of council members and his own constituents. Mayor Dickens’ lack of intervention in protecting Atlanta protestors and residents led directly to the fatal raid last week.
Dickens’ actions are occuring against the backdrop of the closure of one of the city’s two large vital hospitals, the Atlanta Medical Center, late last year. Dickens allowed Atlanta’s already completely overwhelmed hospital system to now operate with only one Level 1 Trauma center for the entire city. His championing of Cop City occurs against the backdrop of a continued investment in the gentrification of Atlanta and a continued disinvestment of affordable housing for a city identified as having the country’s highest level of wealth inequality. Mayor Dickens can somehow find $90 million dollars for Cop City, one third of which will come from tax payer money. Still, he can’t find money to keep our already overwhelmed hospitals open or to finance much-needed affordable housing. Dickens claims to be representing the will of Atlantans in pushing forward with Cop City, instead it seems he is heeding the calls of private philanthropy, the Atlanta Police Foundation, and a small and influential group of lobbyists who speak more for Buckhead than the vast majority of our city. The evidence is clear: we no longer have confidence in Dickens ability to govern the City of Atlanta.
Andre Dickens must immediately terminate the lease of the Weelaunee Forest to the Atlanta Police Foundation and resign his post as Mayor.
7 Directions of Service
A World Without Police
Abolitionist Teaching Network
Atlanta Justice Alliance
Atlanta Radical Art
Beyond Extreme Energy
Black Futurists Group
Buford Highway People’s Hub
Bvlbancha Liberation Radio
Center for Third World Organizing
Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment
Climate Justice Alliance
Community Movement Builders
Demilitarize Atlanta 2 Palestine
Endangered Species Coalition
First Existentialist Congregation of Atlanta – Social Justice Guild
Georgia Detention Watch
Georgia Human Rights Clinic
Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights
Indigenous Environmental Network
Indigenous Peoples Power Project, IP3
Jersey House Studio
Jewish Voices for Peace
Just Mathematics Collective
North American Indian Center of Boston
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
NW Yonkers for Black Lives Matter
Oil Change International
Our Rights DC
Palestinian Youth Movement
Pueblo Action Alliance
Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ)
Showing Up For Racial Justice, Boston
South Asian Fund For Education Scholarship and Training inc
Students for Justice in Palestine (University of Chicago)