Video shows 'Molotov cocktail' thrown at 'Cop City' site

The Atlanta Police Department released video of what they call "Molotov cocktails" thrown while a group of protestors was occupying the so-called "cop city" site, a future Atlanta police training facility. 

Atlanta Police Department Assistant Chief Darin Schierbaum said Tuesday no one was injured when someone threw a "glass container with an accelerant inside and a crude ignition device." Hours later police said someone threw another "Molotov cocktail," which didn't ignite. The incident happened on Key Road.  

Marlon Kautz of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund told FOX 5 Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon he'd seen nothing but "peaceful protesting" and "no evidence" of the incendiary device. It's unclear where the explosive was thrown in relation to the protest where police arrested at least seven people. 

Video released by police shows a device fly out of a tree and explode into flames when it hit a fence near where three officers were standing in front of a patrol car. There were visible flames for about a minute. 

A second video shows another device apparently thrown in the same area. This time, it did not ignite and landed near a car. There were no officers or marked police cars visible in the video when the object was thrown. 

Police released the names of seven arrestees, none of whom are charged with assaulting officers. Arrestees were charged with criminal trespassing, and one person was accused of providing a false name:

  • Phillip A Flagg, 28, Worchester, Massachusetts
  • Lee Ana-Gypsy, 38, Gainesville
  • Elizabeth Hoitt-Lange, 24, Sea Cliff, New York
  • Erin Brault, 27, Sykesville, Maryland
  • Madeleine Kodat, 28, Philadelphia, Penn.
  • Brooke Courtemanche, 26, Wooster, Ohio
  • Abigail E. Skapyak, 23, Minneapolis, Minnesota: criminal trespassing and false name
Image 1 of 7

Phillip Flagg was arrested by Atlanta police during a protest at 'cop city' on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (provided by Atlanta Police Department)

None of the people arrested reside in Atlanta, according to police, but multiple people in the protest group identified themselves as Atlanta residents on Tuesday afternoon. 

Both police and activists said there were people occupying the forest in tree houses. Police went to the site on Tuesday to remove "illegal structures" at the site of the future training facility, funded by the Atlanta Police Foundation. 

Protestors say the facility is bad for the environment and will militarize police in communities of color.

Police said the property is owned by the city of Atlanta, and they would arrest anyone who remains on the site. 

The ‘forest defenders’ hold ongoing protest

Some people who call themselves "forest defenders" have been camping on the site since last year. Police said they have been sabotaging construction efforts and the protesters have claimed they have driven spikes into trees to make them hazardous to cut down.

"This is an attempt to demoralize a vibrant and diverse movement that is led by local community members against the replacement of the largest urban tree canopy in the United States the largest police training compound in the United States," said Mae Johnson, an activist who lives near the site.

Over the last month, the group has protested at company contracted to build the training facility and even its CEO's home. Last week, police in Cobb County arrested two protesters for vandalizing the office of one of the building contractors involved in the project. 

Over the weekend, the activist said officers charges at them for no reason while protesting in the streets near Freedom Park.

Multiple people in the group identified themselves as Georgia residents. 

What is the ‘Stop Cop City’ movement?

Protestors oppose "the expansion of the police state" and said the Atlanta Police Foundation is threatening the Atlanta forest. Tuesday's protest was one of several on the property recently. There was a protest at Inman Park where people were arrested "with extreme force," according to Kautz.

"We are not extremest, we are neighbors of the forest, residents of south Atlanta, most importantly, we are intelligent people who know the future of the world is on fire," Mae Johnson, who said she lives in neighborhood near "Cop City."

She said the "Stop Cop City" movement has broad support because of the environmental impact the forest has on the city. City council members said they would be planting hundreds more trees for each tree that would be cut down.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.