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‘Cop City’ protester’s hands went up as officers fatally shot him, family says

(CNN) The hands of a “Cop City” protester went up as law enforcement officers trying to clear the site of a planned police and fire training center near Atlanta opened fire, according to an autopsy commissioned by the activist’s family, lawyers say.

The hands of Manuel Esteban Paez Terán26, who was killed in January, showed exit wounds on both palms, according to a press release from the attorneys on Friday. “The autopsy further reveals that Manuel was most likely sitting cross-legged when he was killed.”

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

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

Lawyers for the Terán family said they plan to release the private autopsy Monday at a news conference. They claim that the GBI, which is investigating the shooting, has not been transparent.

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

“Imagine that the police killed your child. And now imagine that they won’t tell you anything. That is what we are going through,” she said in Friday’s statement about the second autopsy.

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

The GBI responds to such claims, saying it is taking care not to make “inappropriate” disclosures of information, to “preserve the integrity of the investigation and ensure that the facts of the incident are not flawed.” assessment.”

According to the GBI, Terán opened fire on law enforcement from inside a tent after failing to comply with verbal orders, wounding the policeman. A handgun recovered from the scene matched the projectile from the officer’s wound, the agency said.

There is no body camera 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 the facts and the truth,” the agency said. “We understand the extreme emotion this has caused Terán’s family and we will continue to investigate to the fullest extent possible.”

In a sentence On Friday night, the GBI said lawyers for the protester’s family incorrectly said the agency conducted the first autopsy. Rather, the GBI said, the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office did the autopsy.

“The GBI continues to work diligently to protect the integrity of the investigation and will turn over our findings to a designated 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 facility.

The Atlanta Public Safety Training Center will be built on controversial land that used to be a prison. Although it is just outside the city limits, that land is owned by the city, which means that the residents who live around the site have no voting power for the leaders who approved it.

Backers of the facility say it is needed to help boost police morale and recruiting efforts. The old facilities are substandard, while firefighters train at “borrowed facilities,” the Atlanta Police Foundation said. The foundation says the center will focus on “community-oriented” policing.

But “Cop City” has received fierce rejection since its conception from the residents who sit there. there was little public participationconservationists who worry it will take away a much-needed piece of forest land and activists who say it will militarize police forces and contribute to more instances of police brutality.

Activists associated with the protests against the facility have called Terán a “defender of the forest” working to fight environmental racism. They said Terán identified as non-binary and was “sweet, warm, very smart and caring.” Belkis Terán said that if his son had a weapon, it was to protect himself from the 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 bail. Atlanta police say they were “violent rioters” who infiltrated a peaceful protest at the site and staged a “coordinated attack” on officers and construction crews.

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

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