Gov. Brian Kemp has declared a 15-day state of emergency in Georgia and deployed the National Guard in anticipation of continued protests over a proposed Atlanta police training facility.
As part of the emergency declaration, Kemp has asked that 1,000 Georgia National Guard troops be made available by the Georgia Department of Defense.
According to the order, the troops will be called up to active duty as necessary.
The State of Emergency will stay in effect until Feb. 9.
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Last week, Georgia State Patrol and other agencies were at the proposed facility’s site, clearing protesters who had been camped out in the forest for months.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says one of the protesters, 26-year-old Manuel Teran, shot a state trooper and was then killed by return fire. The trooper, who hasn’t been identified due to safety concerns, is expected to survive.
Friends of Teran, who went by the nickname “Tortuguita,” have repeatedly claimed since the shooting that they are peaceful protesters.
On Saturday night a group of hundreds of protesters gathered at Underground Atlanta before marching downtown. Protesters then set a police car on fire and smashed windows out of several businesses. Six protesters were arrested.
The state of emergency order “grants the Governor the authority to empower the Georgia National Guard to subdue riot and unlawful assembly.”
The State of Emergency was issued moments after police in Memphis announced felony charges against five police officers accused of killing a man during a traffic stop on Jan. 10. Tyre Nichols died three days after authorities said he ran after being pulled over on suspicious driving.
Police said officers had two “confrontations” with Nichols and that afterward, he complained of shortness of breath. He was taken to a hospital, where he later died, according to WHBQ.
The Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said video of the confrontation is “absolutely appalling,” Officials announced on Thursday afternoon that the video would be released to the public some time after 7 p.m. ET on Friday.
It’s unclear if Kemp’s state of emergency declaration was made in anticipation of the video’s release, though some groups have said they will protest in Atlanta after the video is released.
Atlanta police released a statement on Thursday afternoon that read:
“We are closely monitoring the events in Memphis and are prepared to support peaceful protests in our city. We understand and share in the outrage surrounding the death of Tyre Nichols. Police officers are expected to conduct themselves in a compassionate, competent, and constitutional manner and these officers failed Tyre, their communities and their profession. We ask that demonstrations be safe and peaceful.”
Channel 2 Action News has reached out to the Governor’s office for a response.
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