Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has issued a precautionary executive order declaring a state of emergency until February 9 in response to recent riots in Atlanta and potential unrest related to an alleged police brutality incident in Tennessee.
This move from the governor comes in response to ongoing resistance and violence related to a planned police training facility in the forested region close to Atlanta, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
Furthermore, body camera footage of an encounter between Tyre Nichols and five Memphis police officers that allegedly led to Nichols’ death was scheduled for release Friday evening, potentially contributing to the tension. All five officers involved in the incident have been charged with second-degree murder.
In the executive order, Kemp noted, “On the evening of January 21, 2023, protests turned violent in downtown Atlanta as masked activists threw rocks, launched fireworks, and burned a police vehicle.”
“Georgians respect peaceful protests, but do not tolerate acts of violence against persons or property,” the order continued.
Kemp concluded, “That because of unlawful assemblage, violence, overt threats of violence, disruption of the peace and tranquility of this state and danger existing to persons and property, a State of Emergency is declared in the State of Georgia.”
The Georgia Department of Defense was also instructed to “provide up to one thousand (1,000) Georgia National Guard troops to be used in response to this State of Emergency.”
The same day, the Atlanta Police Department (APD) explained, “We are closely monitoring the events in Memphis and are prepared to support peaceful protests in our city.”
“We understand and share in the outrage surrounding the death of Tyre Nichols,” the statement continued. “Police officers are expected to conduct themselves in a compassionate, competent, and constitutional manner, and these officers failed Tyre, their communities, and their profession.”
“We ask that demonstrations be safe and peaceful,” APD concluded.
In Dallas, similar preparations are underway as protests have been planned outside of the police station.
Kristin Lowman, the public information officer for DPD, explained to The Dallas Express that “the department is preparing for the possibility of protests and vigils across our city.”
“Chief Garcia and Command Staff have been in contact with community and faith leaders, along with our law enforcement partners and city departments,” she continued. “Our response teams are on standby, and we will add additional patrols as they are needed.”
Furthermore, Lowman noted, “Our Fusion Center is monitoring and sharing intelligence regarding any potential unrest or threats during events.”
Lowman added, “Our goal will continue to be to protect an individual’s constitutional right to protest.”
Update – January 30, 2023, 11:45 a.m.
After the initial publication of this article, a representative from an organization called Atlanta Antifascists responded to a request for comment, suggesting that “Like the large majority of Atlantans, we are against the deeply corrupt, racist, and environmentally devastating construction of Cop City.”
The Antifascist group denied having any direct involvement with the protestors who rioted in Atlanta on January 21, claiming, “Contrary to right-wing conspiracy theories, the Defend the Atlanta Forest movement is a decentralized, community-based resistance to Cop City, and we lead nothing about it and don’t organize any forest action.”
The representative continued, “Despite the array of forces ranged against the forest defenders, we predict that the struggle will continue despite Kemp’s murderous attempts at repression.”
Suspicious that they released the Tyre video on Friday evening when many potential rioters are already tanked or drugged up and need very little to spark violence. Stupid.
The other equally worthy goal is to protect the people who are in the area of the protest from renegade partcipants who might be violent. It is a dual task in keeping our whole community safe.