In DeKalb County, Georgia on Tuesday, the 23 people charged with domestic terrorism for the violent attack on police officers and the future site of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Facility appeared before Judge Anna Davis for their bond hearing.
While all were denied bond, with Davis citing concerns for future threats to the community. There was one exception. 28-year-old Thomas Webb Jurgens, an attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, was granted a $5,000 bond.
Jurgens’s attorneys argued that he was at the attack on Sunday evening as a legal observer, wearing brightly colored clothing that identified him as such.
“Simply because you're an attorney doesn’t mean you can’t commit a crime,” Davis stated.
Both parties had come to an agreement on a consent order, which requires Jurgens to not contact any of the codefendants in the case, as well as not visit the training site, where fires were set and police officers were attacked with rocks, fireworks, and other projectiles on Sunday.
Davis stated that there needed to be some sort of monetary bond issued given the severity of the domestic terrorism charges, and cited the potential risk to the community.
In a statement, the National Lawyers Guild said, “Law enforcement detained at least 35 demonstrators in Atlanta on Sunday, including an NLG Legal Observer. All of these arrests are part of ongoing state repression and violence against racial and environmental justice protesters, who are fighting to defend their communities from the harms of militarized policing and environmental degradation. Each of these instances, including the many protesters charged with domestic terrorism, make clear that law enforcement views movement activists as enemies of the state.”
“As trained witnesses of police conduct, NLG Legal Observers serve an important role in supporting movement organizers and activists. NLG is proud to contribute in whatever ways we can to advancing the critical work of our movement allies advocating for liberation and community care. NLG remains in solidarity with the movement to Stop Cop City,” the statement added.
The SPLC issued a statement supporting Jurgens, writing, “An employee at the SPLC was arrested while acting — and identifying — as a legal observer on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG). The employee is an experienced legal observer, and their arrest is not evidence of any crime, but of heavy-handed law enforcement intervention against protesters.”
“This is part of a months-long escalation of policing tactics against protesters and observers who oppose the destruction of the Weelaunee Forest to build a police training facility. The SPLC has and will continue to urge de-escalation of violence and police use of force against Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities — working in partnership with these communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements and advance the human rights of all people,” the statement added.
Jack April Beaman, Ayla King, Kamryn Pipes, Maggie Gates, Ehret Nottingham, Alexis Paplai, Timothy Bilodeau, Victor Puertas, Amin Chaoui, James MArsicano, Samuel Ward, Max Biderman, Mattai Luini, Emma Bogush, Kayley Meissner, Luke Harper, Grace Martin, Colin Dorsey, Frederique Robert-Paul, Zoe Larmey, and Priscilla Grim were all denied bond.
The bond hearing for French citizen Dimitri Leny was reset, with the court not having a translator at the time.
Attorneys for the defendants repeatedly noted the concert that occurred before, stating that the day was advertised as a music festival and that the grounds of the training facility were a far walk from the ground of the concert, which was held without proper permits.
An attorney for the state argued that many of the defendants carried shields, indicating their intention to travel to the site, and noting that the majority of the defendants have no ties to the local community or Georgia as a whole.