Listen to this article Environmental Activist Manuel Paez Terán Shot By Georgia Law Enforcement: Autopsy Shows Victim Had Hands Up
Georgia law enforcement reportedly shot and killed Manuel Paez Terán, an environmental activist, during a confrontation in January while they were sitting cross-legged with their hands in the air. The protester’s family announced these findings on Monday, revealing the results of an autopsy they had commissioned. The family’s attorneys stated that they are filing an open-records lawsuit to force Atlanta police to release more evidence about the incident.
Protesters Challenge Atlanta Law Enforcement over Transparency
The family of Manuel Paez Terán held a news conference in Decatur to announce the findings of the autopsy. Moreover, they are challenging Atlanta law enforcement to release more evidence about the incident.The family’s attorneys claim that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), which has been investigating the shooting for almost two months, has prevented Atlanta police from releasing more evidence to the family. In a statement, the bureau stated that it is preventing “inappropriate release of evidence” to preserve the integrity of the investigation.
Family Demands Atlanta Law Enforcement Meet with Them
The family of Paez Terán wants to meet with the GBI and to release the investigative report. Civil rights attorney Brian Spears, citing the autopsy’s conclusions, said, “Manuel was looking death in the face, hands raised when killed.” However, authorities say that officers fired on Paez Terán after the activist shot and seriously injured a state trooper while officers cleared activists from an Atlanta-area forest. Officials had slated the forest for the construction of a large police and firefighter training center, which activists referred to as “Cop City.”
Family and Friends Claim Activist Practiced Non-violence
Manuel Paez Terán had been camping in the forest for months to oppose building the proposed $90 million Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. Family and friends have described Paez Terán as a peaceful activist and accused the authorities of state-sanctioned murder. However, the investigative bureau reported that they do not have any body camera or dashcam footage of the shooting, and they concluded from the ballistics evidence that the injured trooper was shot with a bullet from a gun that Paez Terán legally purchased in 2020.
The Autopsy Report Revealed That Paez Terán Sustained At Least Twelve Gunshot Wounds
According to the family’s autopsy report, Paez Terán’s body was torn up and shot at least a dozen times. Many of the wound tracks within the victim’s body converge, coalesce, and intersect, making it difficult to determine each and every individual wound track. It is impossible to determine whether the activist was holding a firearm at the time of the shooting.
Atlanta City Council Approves the Building of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center
The Atlanta City Council approved the building of the proposed $90 million Atlanta Public Safety Training Center in 2021. The council stated that a state-of-the-art campus would replace substandard offerings and boost police morale. The police department has been beset by hiring and retention struggles following violent protests against racial injustice that erupted in the city after George Floyd’s death in 2020.