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Autopsy: GA 'Cop City' Protester May Have Been Sitting When Killed

Relatives of Manuel “Tortuguita” Esteban Paez Terán, who was shot and killed by Georgia task office officers in January while protesting against what is expected to be the nation's largest police training facility, known as "Cop City," are fighting for answers about what happened that day. While the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) has not disclosed details of the death, family members have sought to uncover them on their own. Their attorneys announced that a second private autopsy. conducted at their request, revealed exit wounds in both of Terán’s palms and shots in his legs, suggesting that he was likely in a seated, cross-legged position with his hands raised when he was killed, according to Courthouse News Service. The autopsy reportedly showed a gunshot wound to the head through Terán’s right eye, a lethal shot that would've been instantly fatal if fired before the others. The second autopsy was conducted by Dr. Kris Sperry, a forensic pathologist, and former GBI chief medical examiner, after a prior one found Terán was shot at least 13 times by multiple firearms.

According to the GBI, Terán shot a Georgia State Patrol trooper before other officers returned fire. While the GBI has said it has no footage of the incident because its officers are not required to wear body cameras, the Atlanta Police Department publicly released its own footage of the shooting’s aftermath. In a nearly 40-minute body camera video, Atlanta police officers are seen removing tents before four shots are heard at 9:01 a.m. There is a brief pause before what sounds like multiple officers firing dozens of rounds in return. As the group takes cover, one officer asks, “Is this target practice?”, potentially referring to the nearby Atlanta police firing range. An unnamed Atlanta police officer wearing the camera can be heard uttering, “Man, you fucked your own officer up.” Activists who have questioned the official narrative of Terán's death have touted the footage as a possibility that it was not Teran who shot the trooper, but another officer. The GBI said, “Speculation is not evidence. Our investigation does not support that statement.”


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