LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Over the weekend, Antifa, the self-described anti-fascist group, along with assorted far-left activists, were recorded as they participated in violent activities in Lansing, Michigan and Atlanta, Georgia that appear to be connected to the “stop cop city” movement in Atlanta.
“Cop City” is a nickname given by opponents of the building of the the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center in Georgia, which has been the target of environmental and anti-police groups and is also in the center of the violence that broke out in Atlanta over the weekend.
Lansing Police Sgt. Kevin Schlage told the Lansing State Journal that 30 to 40 people vandalized and damaged the exterior of the Bank of America near the Frandor Shopping Center in Lansing, Michigan on Saturday. Bank of America has been reported to be a target of protesters because they have donated money to Atlanta non-profits including the Atlanta Police Foundation.
Antifa Watch reports that the six people arrested in connection to the crimes committed in Lansing were Antifa and were participating in a “stop copy city” event.
According to the Lansing police, bank windows were broken, glass candles were thrown, and graffiti was written on the window including “stop cop city.” They also said no entry was made into the bank and it didn’t appear that they were trying to get in. Helping the Lansing police on the scene were the Michigan State Police and other law enforcement agencies.
The names of those arrested are Lansing residents John Chichy (29), Sarah Karloyi (29), Leah Fitch (40), Aliza Ghaffari (32), Kelley Smith (33) and Erin Paskus (26). They were all charged with “hinder and oppose” except for Smith who’s charged with “resisting officer.” Antifa Watch reports that Paskus is a former organizer with the “Michigan Student Power Network,” a group that has chapters in multiple states including Virginia who Antifa Watch has documented to be “crawling with violent extremists who call for murders.”
The Twitter account for Michigan Student Power Network describes themselves as an “association of young people in the state of Michigan formed to co-ordinate action, share skills and build statewide unity around social justice causes.”
Over in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, the group “Scenes from the Atlanta Forest” who oppose the building of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center called for a “night of rage” after Manuel Esteban Paez Teran of Florida, a member of their group who they call a “forest defender” was was shot and killed by a police officer three days earlier.
Their website, which is still up, had called for “reciprocal violence” to be done to “police and their allies.”
The Washington Examiner had said on Friday said that police in Atlanta and possibly nationally were bracing for ambushes and even “assassination attempts” after the group called for the night of rage.
Fox 5 in Atlanta reported last Thursday that during a sweep on Wednesday, the 26-year-old Teran had “opened fire on a Georgia State Patrol trooper during a ‘clearing operation’ of an “autonomous zone” that was set up by the group. The area has been occupied for about 18 months to protest construction of the public safety training center on forested land in DeKalb county.
Investigators reported that Teran did not comply with the commands given by a joint task force and that he fired on law enforcement first. They also said they found a handgun and shell casing on scene. The police officer who was shot had emergency surgery and is reported to be in stable condition.
To protest Teran’s killing, hundreds of Antifa and other far left activists showed up in downtown Atlanta on Saturday and many ended up breaking into stores, throwing bricks, smashing cars, targeting the Atlanta Police Foundation building with fireworks and projectiles and also setting a police cruiser on fire with an explosive.
Breitbart News reports that In the beginning of their protest they were chanting “No justice, no peace, no killer police” and “stop cop city.” Also heard from the protesters, many of whom were dressed in black and wearing masks, was the chant, “If you build it, we will burn it.”
Atlanta’s Mayor Andre Dickens is calling the event “domestic terrorism.”
The New York Post reported that most of those arrested at the Atlanta protest that turned into a riot – and during previous arrests concerning the building of the police training center – are from out of state.
They identify those arrested as Francis Carroll who was already out on bail for a domestic terrorism arrest and comes from a multimillionaire family; Madeleine “Henri” Feola who is a “trans nonbinary activist and 2022 alumna of Oberlin College, where they studied archaeological studies with a focus on decolonization”; Emily Kathryn Murphy from Gross Isle, Michigan a “middle-class vegan activist who previously served as the at-large chair for the Chicago chapter of Al Gore’s ‘Climate Reality Project’ organization before becoming further radicalized into eco-ideology” and Ivan James Ferguson a classically trained clarinetist from Nevada.
The New York Post also says those listed above have been charged with “felony domestic terrorism, felony interference with government property, felony first-degree arson, felony second-degree criminal damage, riot, unlawful assembly, willful obstruction of a law enforcement officer and pedestrian in roadway.”
This wasn’t the first time the group “Scenes from the Atlanta Forest” has been involved with domestic terrorism events. On December 14, 2022, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) announced that five people had been arrested and charged with domestic terrorism and other charges after a joint operation at the site of the future police training center.
Arrests had also been made before that due to ongoing criminal activities including carjacking, various crimes against persons, destruction of property, arson, and attacks against public safety officials. In December, the GBI reported, “Yesterday, several people threw rocks at police cars and attacked EMT’s outside the neighboring fire stations with rocks and bottles. Task force members used various tactics to arrest individuals who were occupying makeshift treehouses.”
After police cleared out the area of concern, including the makeshift treehouses, law enforcement found gasoline, explosive devices and road flares.