More than 60 protesters have been indicted in Georgia over efforts to block construction of a $90 million Atlanta police training facility known as “Cop City,” and have been charged with racketeering, domestic terror and more.
Four Massachusetts residents are among those protesters.
One of them, Alex Papali, who is charged with domestic terrorism and racketeering, joined Greater Boston with his lawyer, Benjamin Evans, Wednesday.
Papali said he learned about the training facility project, which is being built on a forest, and went to Georgia to learn more.
The indictment states that, in March, he joined a mob and overwhelmed the police force that was present.
"I'm opposed to the project personally, but, you know, it shouldn't be something that's criminalized to this degree — RICO charges, racketeering, terrorism," he said. "It's just outlandish."
Evans chimed in: "These charges are designed to inflict the longest possible sentences and I would suggest that ... it's a tactic of intimidation."
Evans and Papali expressed their concern over "Cop City" plans, and the militarization of police, which has been a longstanding point of contention in Atlanta.
"We have a mass incarceration society. It's not just about this one prosecution — rather, it's about an examination of the overall system we have of over-policing people in this country," Papali said.
There will likely be future protests and demonstrations, Papali said, and the legal proceedings face a long road ahead.