Atlanta authorities believe that a fire that caused significant damage to several Atlanta Police Department (APD) motorcycles on the morning of July 1 was started intentionally.
The incident occurred on the parking deck of a training facility, prompting a response from the Atlanta Fire and Rescue Department. Upon arrival at the scene on Southside Industrial Parkway, firefighters discovered multiple motorcycles ablaze and identified the presence of incendiary devices used to ignite the fire.
The precise nature of the fire, whether it was classified as arson and any information regarding arrests remain unknown. An Atlanta Police spokesperson provided limited details, stating that the incident is currently under investigation. Law enforcement agencies are working together to identify those responsible for the deliberate destruction of property.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp condemned the incident in a written statement, calling the acts “outrageous and completely inexcusable.”
“Those are the tactics of organized criminals, not protestors, and their supporters should ask themselves if they truly want to be associated with such radical and violent people,” Kemp added. “Working with state, local and federal law enforcement partners, we will find these criminals and bring them to justice.”
The fire that damaged the motorcycles followed a separate vandalism report that took place at 1 a.m. According to the police report, officers responded to a separate incident at 890 Memorial Drive, where three APD vehicles had been vandalized. Authorities are working to determine whether there is any potential connection between the incidents.
Authorities noted that the fire on the Southside Industrial Parkway does not seem to be related to the “Defend the Forest” protests against the planned Atlanta Public Safety Training Center known as “Cop City,” which has been a subject of controversy and protests from opponents.
Critics have argued that that the construction of the training center, estimated to cost $90 million, could contribute to increased police militarization and worsen environmental damage in a predominantly Black and economically disadvantaged neighborhood. On the other hand, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and other proponents of the training center argue that it would replace inadequate facilities and help address the challenges faced in recruiting and retaining officers.
So far, the APD said that 40 people have been charged with domestic terrorism in connection with protests at the site. In one significant confrontation, an environmental activist was shot and killed by police as officers were clearing a camp at night. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the case in which city officials say the officers fired in self-defense after the protester shot at a trooper.