No charges will be brought against the Georgia State Troopers who fatally shot an activist who was protesting the planned construction of a police training center outside of Atlanta.
Manuel Teran, 26, was shot 57 times by police in January while protesting the intended site of the new training facility, dubbed “Cop City” by critics. Teran, who went by the nickname Tortuguita, was nonbinary and used they/them pronouns.
In a statement, Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Christian said the six officers who shot Teran acted lawfully.
“The use of lethal (deadly) force by the Georgia State Patrol was objectively reasonable under the circumstances of this case,” Christian wrote. “No criminal charges will be brought against the Georgia State Patrol Troopers involved in the shooting of Manuel Perez Teran.”
Police said Teran was camped out along with other protesters on the grounds of the planned training center when Georgia State Troopers moved in to remove them. Teran is accused by police of shooting at officers through their tent four times with a 9 mm pistol, injuring an officer.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation alleged Teran had gun residue on their hands. But an autopsy from the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office and another independent autopsy did not detect the presence of gunshot residue.
The independent autopsy also found that Teran had their hands raised in the air when they were fatally shot.
“Manuel’s left and right hands show exit wounds in both palms,” a statement from attorneys representing Teran’s family said at the time. “The autopsy further reveals that Manuel was most probably in a seated position, cross-legged when killed.”
Georgia State Troopers are not required by law to wear body cameras, but nearby Atlanta Police Department body cameras did capture an officer suggesting that another officer had been shot by friendly fire. There was apparently no footage of the shooting itself.