Several individuals who were arrested Sunday on domestic terrorism charges in connection with the “Cop City” attack in Georgia have ties to high-profile far-left movements and organizations.
On Monday, the Atlanta Police Department named the 23 activists it arrested for domestic terrorism after a protest of a proposed 85-acre police training center, labeled by opponents as “Cop City,” turned into a violent assault on law enforcement. Those arrested conducted a coordinated attack on construction equipment and police officers at the construction site east of Atlanta, using large rocks, bricks, Molotov cocktails and fireworks.
“Actions such as this will not be tolerated,” Atlanta Police Department Chief Darin Schierbaum told reporters during a press briefing Sunday evening. “You attack law enforcement officers, you damage equipment, you are breaking the law. This was a very violent attack. This wasn’t about a public safety training center. This was about anarchy and this was about an attempt to destabilize.”
Among those arrested, Fox News Digital identified several individuals connected to environmental and left-wing groups or broader activist movements.
For example, Tom Jurgens, a staff attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and legal observer for the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), was among those arrested during the attack.
The SPLC identifies itself as a watchdog of extremist groups, and its research has been cited by Democratic lawmakers. The NLG is a radical group that provides legal support and training to activists involved in and arrested for protest actions.
“This is part of a months-long escalation of policing tactics against protesters and observers who oppose the destruction of the Weelaunee Forest to build a police training facility,” the SPLC said in a statement. “The SPLC has and will continue to urge de-escalation of violence and police use of force against Black, Brown and Indigenous communities — working in partnership with these communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements and advance the human rights of all people.”
The group added that Jurgens’ arrest was not evidence that a crime had been committed, but of “heavy-handed law enforcement intervention against protesters.”
The NLG said the arrest was “part of ongoing state repression and violence against racial and environmental justice protesters, who are fighting to defend their communities from the harms of militarized policing and environmental degradation.” The group also stated its legal observers, including Jurgens, serve important roles supporting protesters.
“Many of these activists and the groups they belong to, like the National Lawyers Guild, claim to defend democracy, yet they love thuggish violence, the opposite of the democratic rule of law,” Scott Walter, president of the Capital Research Center, told Fox News Digital.
“They feel they have a right to parachute into a city from out of town and rule by force, outside any law. Their arrogance only makes the rule of law more appealing—and necessary.”
Of the 23 individuals arrested in the attack, only two are from Georgia and some traveled from other countries, according to police.
Alex Papali — a former green justice organizer at the group Clean Water Action, according to liberal nonprofit Barr Foundation — was also among those arrested for domestic terrorism. Clean Water Action declined to comment, noting that Papali has not been employed by the group since July 2020.
In a 2019 blog post, Papali argued everyone has “a role to play in putting equity at the center of climate action.”
Another activist arrested was Bo Bogush, a former environmental educator at Common Ground, an eco-focused progressive school in Connecticut. Common Ground Executive Director Monica Maccera-Filppu told Fox News Digital that Bogush has not been employed at the school since August and declined to comment.
Two other individuals arrested, Maggie June Gates of Indiana and Ehret Nottingham of Colorado, were also active in the environmental movement. Family and friends interviewed by Indiana local outlet WTHR-TV said Gates was “dedicated to preserving the environment,” and Nottingham made headlines in 2019 for leading a youth climate protest in Fort Collins, Colorado.
“My favorite critique we got was ‘stay in school,’” Nottingham said at the time, according to Communication Ministries. “If we wait until we’re more educated and have credentials, then it will be too late to make the changes our climate needs.”
Additionally, North Carolina resident James Marsicano, an outspoken advocate of defunding the police, was also arrested in the attack on Sunday. According to The Funambulist, a platform for activists, Marsicano goes by “Jamie” and is a “White trans femme organizer in Charlotte who is fiercely committed to supporting Black trans femmes, prison abolition, and destabilizing all forms of oppression.”
“She/they was a core organizer during the Charlotte Uprising where she led direct action trainings, established a legal infrastructure so freedom fighters could get out of jail and obtain legal aid, and worked with communities in charlotte to build strong, lasting relationships,” the description continues. “Her interested include prison abolition, gender justice, and uplifting POC trans/non-binary femme leadership.”
Marsicano was arrested for assaulting a police officer in June 2020 during a violent protest in Charlotte, North Carolina, in response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, The Charlotte Observer reported at the time.
Marsicano’s father was the president and CEO of the left-wing Foundation for the Carolinas, one of the nation’s largest foundations, from 1999 until this year.
Finally, Priscilla Grim, another activist arrested, was a lead organizer of Occupy Wall Street, a two-month protest movement against inequality that took place in New York City in 2011.
A blog site that appears to belong to Grim shows support for Black Lives Matter, an Indigenous collective and a group that backs undocumented people and states “no borders on stolen land.”
“I am choosing hope and solidarity. Tonight, as the United States remains mired in sexism, climate change, a pandemic, and the greed of the 1%, I choose hope and solidarity,” Grim wrote in a 2021 blog post commemorating the 10th anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. “Together we are strong, and together we can win a new future for each other. I have to believe that we can win. It is our duty to win.”
“The experiment of what could happen in a society created by settler colonialism is over. The land is destroyed. Humanity is pushed forward with the threat of a cage at the tip of a gun,” she continued. “These fools in elected office don’t represent us. Power is conceding nothing in the face of a global pandemic and the fires and floods of climate disasters. The time is now to shut down everything until we can see a path forward.”