Three Atlanta activists who spearheaded a fund to help bail out demonstrators arrested while protesting the state’s so-called “Cop City” have been busted for financial crimes.
Marlon Scott Kautz, 39, of Atlanta; Savannah D. Patterson, 30, of Savannah; and Adele MacLean, 42, of Atlanta, all of whom lead the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, were arrested Wednesday morning at Kautz and MacLean’s home — a distinct, colorful house covered in anti-cop graffiti.
They were charged with money laundering and charity fraud.
State investigators have claimed they have evidence linking all three organizers to the alleged crimes, but an attorney representing them said he was trying to figure out the basis for the charges.
“I know what the crimes are that are alleged, but I don’t know exactly what the state’s alleging that these three people did or how they supposedly engaged in charity fraud,” Don Samuel said.
The trio run the Network for Strong Communities, which was incorporated in 2020. Through the Network, they collect funds for the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, which has bailed out numerous protestors and helped find them legal representation.
The protestors have been demonstrating against an under-construction $90 million police training facility officially called the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, but what they have labeled as “Cop City.”
They claim the facility will militarize officers and its construction is harming the environment by clearing out 85 acres of wooded lands.
More than 40 protestors have been arrested and charged with domestic terrorism since the protests began — in a sometimes destructive fashion.
Following the three leaders’ arrests, Republican Gov Brian Kemp said the state will “track down every member of a criminal organization, from violent foot soldiers to their uncaring leaders.”
The state’s Attorney General Chris Carr, who is also a Republican said that he will “not rest until we have held accountable every person who has funded, organized or participated in this violence and intimidation.”
The protests drew national attention in January when a state trooper fatally shot 26-year-old protester and environmental activist Manuel Esteban Paez Terán after he shot and injured a different trooper.
Executive director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center Lauren Regan slammed the arrests saying she didn’t see the crime committed.
“Bailing out protestors who exercise their constitutionally protected rights is simply not a crime,” Regan said. “In fact, it is a historically grounded tradition in the very same social and political movements that the city of Atlanta prides itself on. Someone had to bail out civil rights activists in the 60’s — I think we can all agree that community support isn’t a crime.”
With Post wires
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