Death in the Atlanta Forest: Stop Cop City!

by Melinda Tuhus, climate activist

What can you say about a young activist killed by police while trying to stop the destruction of an urban forest for the construction of a militarized police training facility to practice urban warfare? It marks an escalation of repression against the environmental justice/climate movement in the U.S. of the kind more commonly associated with Brazil or Mexico. It has prompted rallies and vigils around the country, including in Connecticut.

On Jan. 18, Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, 26, who took the forest name Tortuguita (“Little Turtle”) or Tort, was shot by police who were raiding various camps and tree sits in the forest that comprised the movement to Stop Cop City. The official police story – amplified by the mass media, the mayor and Governor Brian Kemp – is that someone shot at the officers first, injuring one, and the police returned fire. They said no camera footage is available, and for several days they didn’t produce a gun that they now say was bought legally by Paez Terán. They have also told conflicting versions of what happened. In one version police say they surrounded the tent while Tort was inside, leading to speculation that the officer was injured by friendly fire.

The Atlanta Police Foundation, a private entity, got permission from the city to build an actual town on 100 acres of forest, the better to practice urban policing. Not just activists, but local residents from the neighboring part of the city, which is majority people of color and lower income, oppose the project…

The opposition to Cop City – focused on racial and environmental injustice and climate concerns – has been militant and decentralized, with some people carrying out sabotage of heavy machinery and focusing their ire on the CEOs of companies participating in or funding the project. Some consider destruction of property violence, while others don’t, but it certainly doesn’t rise to the level of killing another human being. Tortuguita (who used they/them pronouns) declared on several occasions to reporter David Peisner their commitment to non-violence, if not as a belief system, then at least as a strategy: “The right kind of resistance is peaceful because that’s where we win. We’re not going to beat them at violence. They’re very, very good at violence. We’re not. We win through nonviolence. That’s really the only way we can win. We don’t want more people to die. We don’t want Atlanta to turn into a war zone.”

[Article can be read in its entirety at]

New Haven March Protests Police Violence | Jake Dressler, New Haven Independent

April 18, 2021

Civil rights activists marched from City Hall to Yale Police Department headquarters to protest the recent police killings of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo in the Midwest. Dozens of marchers blocked traffic on Ashmun Street as they listened to community organizers speak out against police violence.

Jake Dressler photo

“Screw reform,” shouted Sunrise New Haven member Jaeana Bethea. “We need to put money into affordable health care and jobs. The cops are reactionary. We need to defund and abolish the police! We keep us safe! Mayor Elicker wants to complain about the dirt bikes in the neighborhood when there are much bigger problems!”

The demonstration was organized by the local Democratic Socialists of America chapter and Hamden Council member Justin Farmer in response to two police shootings that occurred earlier [in the] week and that resulted in the deaths of Wright and Toledo.

Wright was killed on April 11 in Brooklyn Center, Minn.–just miles away from where former police officer Derek Chauvin stood trial for the murder of George Floyd last spring. Wright died after police officer Kimberley Potter mistook her handgun for a taser and open fire.

Toledo, a 13-year-old boy, was killed on March 13 in Chicago when officer Eric Stillman allegedly believed Toledo was hiding a gun and shot at him during a foot chase. Video footage of the incident shows that the boy had his hands up at the time he was shot.

“I think it’s important for lawyers to step up and play their part in ending police brutality and civil rights violations,” said defense attorney Alex Taubes. “The protest rally today was not just about George Floyd, Daunte Wright, and Adam Toledo, but also Malik Jones, Jayson Negron, Mubarak Soulemane, and the victims of police brutality in Connecticut whose loved ones still seek justice.”

Read the entire article at


Protesters Occupy Board of Alders Meeting

by Jon Greenberg, Contributing reporter, Sep 22, Yale Daily News

Members of the Board of Alders met Tuesday evening in City Hall to discuss a plan to allocate funds for a new police dog. But the meeting took an unexpected turn when about fifty New Haven residents, who were protesting police brutality just outside, stormed the chamber.

The protesters — who waved homemade posters and chanted slogans like “No justice, no peace, no racist police” — occupied the hall for over an hour. During that time, they expressed their frustrations to the alders and proposed courses of action that they believed the city government should take to curb police brutality and empower New Haven residents. The protest was spurred by the alleged assault of New Haven resident Holly Tucker by two New Haven Police Department police officers during a traffic stop on Sept. 10. Tucker, who was at the protest, said she was dragged from her car by one of the officers, thrown to the ground, handcuffed and spent the night in jail while her young daughter was unaware of the situation and waiting for her, worried, at home. At the protest, Tucker showed that she still had bruises on her arms from the altercation.

“A mother was dragged out of her car and we’re here talking about a dog,” said Barbara Fair, Holly Tucker’s mother and the leader of Tuesday’s protest.

To read the complete article, visit: Protesters occupy Board of Alders meeting