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18 Atlanta Protesters Arrested After Breonna Taylor Grand Jury Decision

ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) -- The national outrage after a grand jury failed to charge the officers who killed Breonna Taylor was felt here in Atlanta. Jurors charged just one of the three officers for shooting at a neighbors home.

Atlanta police confirmed they arrested 11 protesters Wednesday night, and officials say State Capitol police arrested seven people. They said several protesters attempted to vandalize and climb on a State Police SWAT vehicle and refused to disburse.

Orion Frees wasn't arrested, but he was there when the SWAT team released tear gas and dropped a canister near a crowd. "It fell maybe 10 feet in front of us, and it got us pretty good. It's no joke, it's a lot more than just cutting onions," Frees said. He says the tear gas was uncalled for. "[The SWAT team] got upset that [the protesters] touched their car, and that's when the first guardsman got out and pulled out his tear gas canister."

"There was no need for the arrests. There was also no need for the tear gas," said Atlanta NAACP First Vice President Gerald Griggs, who is also a local attorney.

Griggs says he was able to get several protesters released from jail. He also says Breonna Taylor still deserves justice. She was killed while sleeping when officers raided her home in Louisville, Kentucky. They were serving a no-knock search warrant. "You cannot kill an unarmed African American female and not think that members of the community won't stand up and protest," Griggs said. "As an officer of the court, I just think that it's time to reconvene the grand jury and re-present it."

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the shooting was justified, and Griggs disagrees.

"I beg to differ and respectfully differ in his analysis, and I believe that a jury of 12 should make that determination, and I think he should have presented at least manslaughter charges," said Griggs, saying he also hopes a federal court will address civil rights violations related to the case.

The deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd are among several that have sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality. Griggs says, despite it all, there's still hope for change.

"There's an election coming up in November. It's time to vote some people out, time to exercise our rights at the ballot box."

The Atlanta NAACP and The People's Uprising are planning another protest on Friday, September 25, 2020 at 5 p.m., starting at the Atlanta Police Headquarters at 226 Peachtree Street Southwest and ending at the Georgia State Capitol.

The groups are calling on law enforcement to require officers to turn their body cameras on at all times and to eliminate the no-knock warrant in Georgia. They're also demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, Jamarion Robinson and Jimmy Atchison, as well as public inclusion on re-imagining public safety.

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