The charges were filed last week, according to online court records. Charging documents were not immediately available on Tuesday morning. But the list of defendants suggests that the case implicates people who have already been arrested on tenuous evidence, like a legal observer who was jailed while monitoring protests, activists who ran a bail fund for other defendants, and a trio of activists arrested while handing out fliers with the name of a cop who killed a fellow protester.
The RICO charges come as Georgia’s RICO statute receives national attention. Donald Trump and a collection of his associates were charged under the state’s severe RICO statute last month. A person convicted on RICO charges in Georgia cannot be pardoned by the governor. Only the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles can issue RICO pardons in the state, and even then, only after a person has served five years of their sentence.
The same grand jury that indicted Trump on RICO charges also indicted the Stop Cop City defendants, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Tuesday.
The Cop City Vote Coalition, a group that gathered more than 100,000 signatures to put the facility’s construction up for a vote this year, condemned the charges as “authoritarian” measures by Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. The group also noted that charging documents describe the alleged racketeering scheme as beginning before the police training facility was even announced. [Continue reading…]