Training center opponents torch patrol car outside officer’s home
Atlanta Police are searching for two opponents of the city’s controversial public safety training center who set fire to an officer’s patrol car outside his home in Lakewood Heights.
The incident occurred before dawn on Saturday morning. Several social media accounts connected to the “Stop Cop City” movement claimed responsibility and said more acts of civil disobedience were forthcoming.
At a Saturday night press conference, Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said investigator’s obtained search warrants and raided a home on Harper Road in southeast Atlanta looking for the two suspects related to the arson.
“As that investigation played out, a group commonly known as Defend the Atlanta Forest or Stop Cop City took claim of that arson for setting fire to the police car that is used to protect this city,” Schierbaum said at the press conference. “We are not going to allow, as a police department or a law enforcement community, this city to be held hostage to fear and intimidation through fire.”
“An attempt to use fire to incite fear to stop the building of a training center that is vital to us being a first-class city protected by first-class first responders will fail,” the chief said.
Schierbaum said replacing the patrol car will cost taxpayers $80,000. “Arson is wrong. Arson is a crime that puts lives in danger,” Schierbaum said. “This department will not tolerate that.”
The latest arson case related to the building of the training center on city-owned property in South DeKalb County came just two days after an arrest was made in another arson.
John Robert Mazurek, 30, of Atlanta,was arrested during a Feb. * raid by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. He is charged with first-degree arson for the July 2023 burning of eight Atlanta police motorcycles.
Last month, a fire was set a southeast Atlanta construction site where townhomes are being built. Police also announced last month a nationwide billboard campaign to advertise up to $200,000 rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of “anarchists” responsible for the arson attacks against the training center.
Despite the attacks, construction has not slowed at the 85-acre complex being built in the South River Forest, according to the city. The complex is 70% complete, the mayor said. It is slated to be completed in December and be operational in January 2025.
Dyana Bagby contributed to this report.
This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with Rough Draft Atlanta.