ATLANTA, Georgia - The attorney for a Maine resident who is facing charges of domestic terrorism and other suspected crimes in Georgia is saying his client wants a thorough investigation into his arrest at a protest that turned destructive on Jan. 21.
Francis Carroll, 22, of Kennebunkport, is currently being held without bail in Fulton County on felony charges of domestic terrorism, willful obstruction of law enforcement officers by use of threats or violence, first-degree arson, second-degree criminal damage to property, interference with government property, and possessing tools for the commission of a crime.
Carroll also has been charged with misdemeanors: being a pedestrian in a roadway, rioting and assembling unlawfully.
Carroll and others were arrested that day in connection with a protest in Atlanta following the death of an environmental activist who days earlier had been shot and killed by authorities after the 26-year-old allegedly shot a state trooper.
This is the second time Carroll has been arrested for protesting against the construction ofa new Atlanta Public Safety Training Center in Georgia.Carroll also was arrested on Dec. 13 and charged with domestic terrorism for his alleged participation in violent acts and trespassing at the site of the project.
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Carroll's attorney, Joshua Schiffer, of the firm Chanco Shiffer in Atlanta, said his client is anticipating and requesting a thorough investigation into his arrest, as well as the arrests of other protestors he knows.
"There are more unanswered questions than facts involving all state actions against the protesting citizens selectively chosen for arrest," Schiffer said in a prepared statement. "The process will reveal the truth. Thankfully, there is a plethora of video and other evidence, and we look forward to a thorough examination thereof."
Schiffer is defending Carroll in both cases that the state is preparing against Carroll.
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The Office of the Fulton County District Attorney, which is prosecuting this most recent case, could not be reached for comment.
During an interview on Friday, Schiffer took issue with the fact that Carroll was being held without bond. He said the circumstances in the case do not meet the criteria for denying bond.
"Arrestees are entitled to bond, absent the state showing of factors," he said. "Withholding bond is not supposed to be a punishment."
Carroll was released on bond, with conditions, in late December, following court appearances for his first arrest days earlier, according to Schiffer.
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Schiffer said he could not comment specifically on the charges his client is facing.
"We need a lot of sunlight between all of the agencies involved," he said. "A thorough investigation will reveal what happened and will show why law enforcement specifically chose these individuals to arrest."
Atlanta protest over police killing of activist turns violent
During the incident on Jan. 21, activists dressed in masks and black clothing allegedly threw rocks and lit fireworks in front of a skyscraper that houses the Atlanta Police Foundation. The activists reportedly shattered large glass windows, set a police cruiser on fire, and vandalized walls with anti-police graffiti.
The protesters were a subsection of hundreds of demonstrators who had gathered and marched up Peachtree Street in Atlanta to mourn the death of the protester, who went by the name Tortuguita.
Tortuguita was killed on Wednesday, Jan. 18, as authorities cleared a small group of protesters from the site of a planned Atlanta-area public safety training center that activists have dubbed "Cop City."
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said Tortuguita was killed by officers after shooting and wounding a state trooper. However, activists have questioned officials' version of events, calling it a "murder" and demanding an independent investigation.
According to the GBI, the incident was not recorded on body cameras. The bureau determined the trooper was shot in the abdomen by a bullet from a handgun that was in Tortuguita's possession.
Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said during a news conference that authorities made six arrests at the protest - with Carroll being one of them, as confirmed by the DA office in DeKalb County.
Authorities recovered explosive devices after the protesters damaged property along Peachtree Street, a corridor of hotels and restaurants.
Schierbaum said authorities halted the violence within two blocks. No citizens or law enforcement officers were injured.
"We can tell now, early in this investigation, this was not the focus tonight just to damage the windows of three buildings and set a police car on fire," Schierbaum said. "The intent was to continue to do harm, and that did not happen."
What is the 'Cop City' protest all about?
Opponents of the training center have been protesting for over a year by building platforms in surrounding trees and camping out at the site. They say the $90 million project, which would be built by the Atlanta Police Foundation, involves cutting down so many trees that it would be environmentally damaging. They also oppose spending so much money on a facility they say will be used to practice "urban warfare."
Schiffer said he could not confirm or deny whether or not Carroll belongs to a specific, organized group of activists and protestors. Schiffer said he has not asked his client that question.
Asked what has prompted a resident from Kennebunkport, Maine, to take up causes more than 1,100 miles away in Georgia, Schiffer said the issues against which Carroll is protesting are "borderless" and have attracted people from all walks of life and places. He said the situation includes concerns about environmentalism and police militarism but also goes beyond them.
"We can't wait to get to court and have these arguments," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Kennebunkport, ME man charged with domestic terrorism for second time
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