Jury selection began on Monday for the first trial against a defendant indicted for opposing an Atlanta police training facility, sparking potential civil liberties concerns due to a possible unconstitutional gag order issued by the judge.
For nearly two years, activists in Georgia have protested the proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, dubbed “Cop City,” leading to occasional violent clashes and a protester being shot and killed by police in January. In September, the state attorney general announced indictments against 61 defendants under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
A Cop City defendant, Ayla King, filed a motion in October for a speedy trial, which was granted by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams. However, Adams also issued a broad gag order prohibiting all parties and their attorneys from discussing the case in any form of communication.
Attorney Andrew Fleischman criticized the order as unconstitutional, citing the narrow scope required for a legitimate gag order. The order affects all Cop City defendants, raising concerns about its scope and potential impact.
The order stands in contrast to state officials’ extensive public discussion of the case, including press conferences and media appearances by Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr.