The defendants, collectively branded an "enterprise of militant anarchists, eco-activists and community organizers," have all been accused of violating the state's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Individual defendants are also facing other charges related to their particular roles.
The indictment alleges that "the purpose of Defend the Atlanta Forest is to occupy of parts or all of 381 forested acres in DeKalb County, Georgia that is owned by Atlanta Police Foundation and leased by the City of Atlanta for the purpose of preventing the construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center."
"Each individual charged in this indictment," it states, "knowing joined the conspiracy in an attempt to prevent the training center from being built."
Among those named in the indictment is SPLC lawyer Thomas Webb Jurgens. The 28-year-old was one of 28 people accused of domestic terrorism in March over his role in an Antifa-linked attack on police officers and the future site of the training facility. The SPLC defended him, suggesting he had been "a legal observer."
Tuesday's indictment reiterates that Jurgens "did join and organized mob and succeeded in overwhelming the police force, thereby aiding and abetting in the offense of Arson and Domestic Terrorism in an attempt to occupy the DeKalb forest and prevent the building of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center," all of which amounted to "an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy."
For months, Antifa members and other far-left extremists wreaked havoc on the area, carrying out numerous attacks, setting up potentially deadly booby traps, and generally making it impossible for officials to move forward on the project.
During a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr said, "As the indictment asserts, members of Defend the Atlanta Forest subscribe to a philosophy of anarchy."
"They hold a core belief that society should abolish police, government, and private business, and as further alleged they’re willing to bring about such changes 'by any means necessary' including violence," he said, adding that the group recruited and trained individuals from Georgia and beyond "to participate in this criminal enterprise."
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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