When one of its own employees was charged with domestic terrorism in Atlanta’s “Cop City” conflict, an activist group that has labeled conservative and Christian organizations as hate groups in the past was reportedly chastised on social media trying to shift the blame onto the police.
The Southern Poverty Law Center revealed its political bias in its public response to the arrest of its attorney Thomas Jurgens in a press statement that branded law enforcement’s response as heavy handed, according to Cully Stimson, a senior legal scholar at The Heritage Foundation.
“The SPLC’s press release immediately does exactly what you shouldn’t do if you’re a neutral and detached organization and not a police-hating, capitalist-hating, hate monger group,” Stimson said.
The SPLC said in a news release issued Monday evening, one day after the attorney and 22 others were detained, that Jurgens, who was not recognized, introduced himself as a legal observer on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild.
The SPLC said that Jurgens’ detention is not proof of any crime but instead the actions of “heavy-handed” law enforcement.
Jurgens was one of 23 persons charged with domestic terrorism on Monday, following a riot in the city over the proposed building of a police training center called “Cop City” by its opponents.
Protesters hurled pyrotechnics, bricks, and Molotov cocktails at police officers on Sunday, setting a bulldozer and other equipment on fire, according to video footage.
Since 2021, when Atlanta originally authorized building the $90 million center, left-wing protestors have been pushing back by relocating into the woods where the facility would be placed.
With the proposed development, environmentalists and anti-police organizations have banded together to try to halt the project. Environmentalists claim the 85-acre complex will harm the South River Forest, while anti-police groups claim it will increase police militarization.
Conservatives blasted the SPLC on social media after the employee’s arrest:
Here is a photo of the 23 Antifa degenerates arrested for Domestic Terrorism in GA last night after torching gov’t equipment and throwing rocks at cops
1 of them is a lawyer for the SPLC
Almost all are from out of state
Proof that Antifa is a nationwide terrorist organization pic.twitter.com/uKafpsyJ1B
— DC_Draino (@DC_Draino) March 6, 2023
Will the SPLC be listing itself as a hate group? https://t.co/jdKzGXZMaX
— Rep. Dan Bishop (@RepDanBishop) March 6, 2023
TUCKER: The SPLC is a domestic terrorist group pic.twitter.com/9BPBa9sXjQ
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) March 7, 2023
Protests in “Cop City” previously reached a high point in January, when a state trooper shot and killed a radical activist called Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, 26, also known as Tortuguita who claimed to be nonbinary.
Teran was lawfully shot after reportedly resisting officials’ orders and firing a gun at state police.
One officer was also shot in the abdomen while wearing a protective vest.
On Sunday, protestors launched a week of action against the complex, which would contain an amphitheater, schools, and training spaces for police to carry out simulated criminal scenarios such as shootouts when completed.