‘Cop City’ protester Manuel Páez Terán was shot at least 57 times, autopsy shows

    A killed protester resisting the construction of a major law enforcement training center near Atlanta was shot down at least 57 times during a confrontation with the police, an autopsy showed on Thursday.

    The wounds of protester Manuel Paez Teran, 26, were so large that a stray bullet “fell from the left sleeve of one of the shirts” as coroners stripped the body for examination, according to the DeKalb County Medical Examiner.

    The activist known as “Tortuguita,” whose full name is Manuel Esteban Páez Terán, was shot “several times during an altercation with law enforcement from several jurisdictions” in January, according to the report signed by Chief Medical Investigator Dr. Gerald T. Gowitt.

    The report was dated March 14, but was not made generally available to the public until this week.

    The proposed public safety training center, which features a firing range and mock city to be used for police training, has been dubbed “Cop City” by opponents and drew protesters to the proposed site in a wooded area of ​​DeKalb County outside the city. Atlanta.

    On the morning of January 18, a multi-agency operation was launched to clear an encampment of protesters.

    According to to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, officers found Tortuguita in a tent and said the protester “did not comply” with law enforcement orders. Tortuguita is said to have shot and wounded a state agent, after which agents opened fire.

    Relatives and friends have insisted that Tortuguita had their hands in the air and was not a threat to police.

    “We are devastated to learn that our child, our dear Manny, was mercilessly shot by police and suffered 57 bullet wounds all over his body,” said a statement from the protester’s mother, Belkis Teran.

    Tortuguita identified as non-binary and used she/she pronouns.

    The family and its representatives said they still have too many unanswered questions about their loved one’s violent death.

    “We can’t even begin to determine what happened on the morning of January 18 until the GBI releases its investigation,” family attorney Brian Spears said in a statement.

    A representative of the Atlanta Police Department was not immediately available for comment Thursday.

    A spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Thursday that state authorities have completed their investigation and have referred all questions to the prosecutor assigned to the case, Mountain Judicial Circuit DA George Christian.

    The special prosecutor said on Thursday it would be “premature” to discuss any findings from investigators and gave no timeline for a decision to press charges against law enforcement who opened fire on the protester.

    Gowitt’s report took no position on that issue.

    “Since most multiple gunshot shootings are dynamic events, attempts to place the deceased in a specific position at a specific time are fraught with potential inaccuracies,” the coroner wrote.

    “There are too many variables related to the movement of the deceased and the gunmen to draw any definitive conclusions about Mr. Teran’s body position.”

    The coroner listed the protester’s cause of death as “multiple gunshot wounds” and the cause of death as “homicide”. Coroners regularly use the word “murder” as death at the hands of another and not as a criminal term for misconduct.

    According to the autopsy, the protester was in good health before the shooting and had no “pre-existing natural illness”.

    Among the devastating shots that likely killed the protester was one that “passed through the right eyeball and collapsed and then entered the cranial cavity through the right orbital roof,” according to the autopsy report.

    “The gunshot wounds involved the head, torso, and bilateral upper and lower extremities, including the hands and right foot,” the report concluded.

    “Collectively, the gunshots resulted in his death and so the cause of death is listed as multiple gunshot wounds. However, the gunshot wound to the head would have been fatal on its own.”

    Austin Mullen, Marlene Lenhang And Charles Adams contributed.

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