Hundreds pay tribute to Manuel “Tortuguita” Terán at Atlanta vigil

ATLANTA—Yesterday, over 200 people gathered to honor the life of Manuel “Tortuguita” Terán, who was violently killed by Georgia police one year ago.

Tortuguita, a 26-year-old queer indigenous-venezuelan climate activist, was gunned down by Georgia police in Weelaunee Forest in the fight to stop construction of the now $109.65 million police militarization facility commonly known as “Cop City.”

Autopsies showed they were shot 13 to 14 times, leaving them with 57 bullet wounds. Reports also revealed Tort did not have any gunpowder residue on their hands, contradicting police’s claim that Tort shot at officers first. The family’s independent autopsy suggests that Tort was likely sitting with on the ground cross-legged with their arms up when police shot a barrage of bullets into them.

Despite autopsies “obliterating the police narrative” that Tort shot at police first, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has refused to release evidence for an independent investigation.

The slow roll arrived at Gresham Park as the sun was setting over Weelaunee. Cars honked in line with chants “¡Viva Viva Tortuguita!” and “Stop Cop City!” Friends also paid honor to other lives lost to Georgia police last year, including Osiris Bennett and Deacon Johnny Hollman. Vigil organizers dawned a Palestinian flag with the message that from Cop City to Gaza, all struggles for collective liberation are connected.

“The struggles against Cop City and other projects of death continue. We mourn the dead and fight like hell for the living,” said organizers. “We thank those across the world for the outpouring of care and solidarity for the one-year anniversary of the murder of our beloved comrade.”

In November, the state entered Tort’s personal diary into evidence against 61 individuals charged with RICO for their protest against Cop City. Organizers yesterday said, “We remember Tortuguita as a complex person whose image shouldn’t be watered down or altered to serve a political agenda. Like many who have lost loved ones to police violence, Tort’s family and community are still waiting for and seeking justice.”

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