Police officers won’t face charges in fatal shooting of protester Manuel Teran at Atlanta’s ‘Cop City’

(NEW YORK) — None of the Georgia State Police troopers involved in the fatal shooting of Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran will face charges, according to Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney George R. Christian.

Teran, who used they/them pronouns, was shot and killed by police on Jan. 18 as officers raided campgrounds occupied by environmental demonstrators who had allegedly been camping out for months to protest the development of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, dubbed “Cop City” by critics.

According to an autopsy of Teran sent to ABC News, they did not have gunpowder residue on their hands. Officials claimed Teran fired the first shot at a state trooper. Officers then responded with gunfire.

In Friday’s announcement that no charges would be filed, Christian wrote that Teran responded to officers firing “less lethal” pepperball rounds by “shooting four (4) times his 9 mm pistol through the tent striking and seriously injuring a Georgia State Trooper. Six Troopers returned fire resulting in the death of Teran.”

“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.”

Teran had at least 57 gunshot wounds in their body, according to the autopsy, including in the hands, torso, legs and head.

An independent autopsy from the family found that Teran’s hands were raised during the fatal shooting, however, the DeKalb County autopsy stated, “There are too many variables with respect to movement of the decedent and the shooters to draw definitive conclusions concerning Mr. Teran’s body position.”

The DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office had ruled the death a homicide.

The Georgia Attorney General’s Office is conducting its own investigation into the shooting.

ABC News’ Jason Volack and Bill Hutchinson contributed to this report.

 

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