Atlanta, Georgia — A multi-agency task force raided three homes in Atlanta early Thursday morning as part of an ongoing investigation surrounding resistance to ‘Cop City.’
At around 6:00 a.m., on February 8, law enforcement agents with the Atlanta Police Department, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia State Patrol, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and FBI carried out search warrants at three separate homes across the city seeking evidence related to a July 2023 arson targeting police motorcycles at an Atlanta police precinct.
One 30-year-old Atlanta local, John Mazurek, was arrested and charged with first-degree arson in connection with the 2023 sabotage. Another unidentified person has been in police custody since the raids, though they have not been charged or booked, sources told Unicorn Riot.
Police detained residents of the homes and searched the people and property at the locations, sources in one of the homes raided told Unicorn Riot.
Unicorn Riot spoke to two residents from one of the houses. One resident described being woken up by a housemate who alerted him to the raid. After getting partially dressed, he could hear police entering the home while he was in his room.
“I told them I was coming out before I opened the door,” the resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Unicorn Riot.
He opened his bedroom door and was met with lasers from police guns on his body and the sounds of a barking police dog. Officers told him to lie down and crawl toward them before grabbing him by the hair and dragging him outside, he said.
Once on the back porch of the home, officers continued to shake the resident by the hair until he lost his glasses. He was then detained for nearly three hours while agents searched the home.
Another resident described a similar experience. After hearing sirens and an announcement over a loudspeaker, the resident saw police from Georgia State Patrol approaching the structure she lives in, behind the house.
After watching police break open the home’s back door and throw a concussion grenade inside, the resident was met with flashlights and lasers from police guns shining through her window, she said.
She was searched and detained for about three hours while police searched her home and car. Despite asking several times, police never showed her a copy of the warrant they said they were executing, she told Unicorn Riot.
Once released and back inside the house, residents found their home tossed and disheveled. Police seized computers from the home. One resident said police had removed a revealing Polaroid picture of herself, which she had kept in storage under her bed, and put it “on display” in her room.
A copy of a warrant served at a separate raided home, shared by Atlanta Community Press Collective, shows that police took computers, cell phones, and data storage devices among other things.
At a press conference Thursday morning, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum did not comment on what, if any, evidence related to the July 2023 arson was found during the raids.
While police from multiple agencies participated in the raid, the two residents told Unicorn Riot that it seemed clear that the ATF was leading the operation.
Once the raid itself was done, state and local agents left, but ATF agents remained to continue searching the home, the residents said. The federal agency is often tasked with arson investigations that span state lines.
The raids come on the heels of an escalation in Atlanta and beyond to find people who have carried out a string of clandestine attacks against those involved in the creation of ‘Cop City’ — including the Atlanta Police Department, contractors hired to construct the facility, and financial backers of the project.
In January, the Atlanta Police Department announced a national billboard campaign, funded by the Atlanta Police Foundation, seeking information on arson attacks against the facility. The billboards offer rewards of up to $200,000 for information leading to arrests and convictions related to attacks against the facility.
Six days before the raids at the three Atlanta homes, flight data obtained by Unicorn Riot shows an Atlanta Police Department helicopter circled the residences targeted with search warrants.
Those in the movement against ‘Cop City’ began coordinating responses to the early morning raids in the hours afterward.
Supporters called for a rally outside the Atlanta Police Foundation’s headquarters Thursday afternoon to support Mazurek and denounce the raids, while others have called for further attacks in response to the raids.
A message circulating among movement-adjacent chat loops reads:
“[I]f you have been working on a plan with your comrades, now is the time to execute it. If you have not, without hesitation or impediment, now is the time to make a plan with your comrades that you can put into action immediately. The contractors, politicians, and their support networks must have consequences for what they’ve done this morning. If you are unable to mobilize in that way; organize fundraisers, make propaganda, mobilize media contacts, and do research than can undermine the police and contractor’s initiatives.”
Schierbaum told reporters at a press conference Thursday that there will likely be more arrests in coming weeks as the investigation continues.