OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Georgia Republican Attorney General Chris Carr announced on Tuesday he is filing racketeering-related charges against more than 60 left-wing protesters who have, for years, engaged in violent acts in an attempt to stop the construction of a police training facility near Atlanta.
The Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, nicknamed “Cop City” by anti-police activists, has been under construction for a couple of years, but it has faced waves of attacks and occupations by leftists who want the construction halted.
According to The Associated Press, Carr described those who have been targeting the facility as “militant anarchists.” The indictment comes under Georgia’s racketeering or RICO laws, the same ones used by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to indict former President Donald Trump and 18 others for allegedly trying to overturn the 2020 election.
Some will likely interpret Carr’s indictment as a tit-for-tat response to Willis’ questionable prosecutions.
That said, the AG has charged 61 defendants with conspiring to obstruct the construction of the police and fire training center as well as engaging in acts of violence, intimidation, and destruction of property.
A police vehicle was targeted by the anarchists in July, and other construction equipment has been attacked an burned as well. In March, anarchists set fires at the facility. It has been targeted since construction began in 2021, the AP noted.
“Carr cited the instances of violence and intimidation as his rationale for going after the individuals he said were behind it,” the Western Journal noted, adding: “Defendants include more than three dozen people who have previously been charged with domestic terrorism and other acts in connection to the violent protests and riots at or near the training center.”
In addition, three leaders of the resistance have been charged with money laundering, the reports noted. The additional RICO charges could add years to any potential conviction and sentence.
Earlier this year, Carr took to social media to issue a warning that he was prepared to use the full weight of the law to punish the anarchy.
“We are not Oregon. We are not California. We are not Washington. You cannot come to our state, break our laws, throw rocks at buildings, damage property, and shoot police officers,” he wrote as he shared a Fox News story regarding the ongoing violence against the facility. “You can and you will be charged, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
We are not Oregon. We are not California. We are not Washington.
You cannot come to our state, break our laws, throw rocks at buildings, damage property, and shoot police officers.
You can and you will be charged, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. https://t.co/nYMJEYo4vV
— GA AG Chris Carr (@Georgia_AG) January 24, 2023
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) issued a statement supporting Carr’s decision to indict.
“My top priority is and always will be keeping Georgians safe, especially against out-of-state radicals that threaten the safety of our citizens and law enforcement,” Kemp said.
Cop City Vote coalition, the group allegedly behind some of the violence, issued a statement as well claiming Carr was violating their ‘civil rights.’
“Chris Carr may try to use his prosecutors and power to build his gubernatorial campaign and silence free speech, but his threats will not silence our commitment to standing up for our future, our community, and our city,” the group said.
Last month, a former federal prosecutor said that Willis’ goal of quickly prosecuting Trump and the others was not realistic.
Former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers told CNN the DA’s ambitious goal of going to trial in the case against the former president and 18 others within six months likely won’t happen.
“Back in 2022 just last year, she brought a case against a rapper and several others. What does that tell you about the timing of this case and how quickly or slowly it might be able to come to trial?” CNN anchor Sara Sidner said to the former prosecutor.
“Fani Willis has a lot of experience with RICO throughout her prosecutorial career, so she knows what she’s doing in this regard. But going back to the Young Thug case, it’s still in jury selection. I mean months and months just in jury selection,” she said.
“Picking a jury for the former president and these other high-ranking former officials and lawyers and so on is going to be even more complicated than picking a jury for the Young Thung RICO case so to me that just underscores again that six months is an unrealistic goal to try this thing,” she said.