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Monday, June 24
The Indiana Daily Student

crime & courts bloomington

UPDATE: Bloomington activist arrested in Atlanta ‘Cop City’ protests denied bail

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Maggie Gates, a Bloomington activist who was arrested during a protest of “Cop City,” in Atlanta and charged with domestic terrorism earlier this week, was denied bail, friend Mehru Athar said.  

Environmental activists and people concerned with the militarization of the police have been protesting the $90 million police and firefighter training facility being built in the forest outside Atlanta, according to the New York Times

Athar, who has been in contact with Gates since her arrest, said her bail was denied because the judge considered Gates a flight risk since she is not a Georgia resident. 

According to police records, Gates was arrested on March 6 and charged with domestic terrorism along with over 20 other protestors.  

According to Athar and Defend the Atlanta Forest, an activist group protesting the construction of “Cop City,” Gates was arrested during a police raid at a music festival held in protest of the new facility. 

The festival was located at a public park within the Weelanuee Forrest and occurred separately from the violent demonstration on the other side of the 600-acre forest, according to Defend the Atlanta Forest.  

An Instagram post from the Bloomington Weelanuee Forest Defense Society, a local group supporting efforts against “Cop City,” also stated that Gates was arrested at the music festival and not at the construction site where the violence occurred.  

“Imagine being at a peaceful protest and then suddenly the police come to arrest you, and charge you with terrorism,” the post said. “The police claim you were at another demonstration, in another location, doing something you weren’t even aware was happening.”  

Atlanta police said the protesters used the music festival as a cover and were arrested for conducting violent activities against law enforcement and construction equipment. According to a press release, the protestors changed into black clothing and used large rocks, bricks, fireworks and Molotov cocktails against police officers.  

The Dekalb County District Attorney's office denied an IDS records request for documents relating to Gates’ arrest, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the agency that arrested Gates, said requests take 3-4 weeks for a response. 

The Human Rights Watch, an international watchdog group that monitors human rights violations, sent a letter to Georgia law enforcement officials asking for the domestic terrorism charges against the protesters to be dropped.  

Gates is a lifelong Bloomington resident and environmental activist. In 2016, she traveled to North Dakota to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.  She graduated from Bloomington South High School and IU-Bloomington. 

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