Atlanta police released body-camera footage from a raid on protesters that led to the death of Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, a 26-year-old activist who was killed by police last month as authorities attempted to clear the group from the site of a planned public safety training center that opponents call “Cop City.” The video clips do not show the shooting of Paez Teran and capture only the sound of gunshots. The clips do provide new insight into the mood and apparent confusion that day. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said that there is no body-camera footage of the shooting because state patrol officers are not required to wear cameras. The newly released footage is from body cameras worn by officers not involved in the shooting of Paez Teran, reports the Washington Post. Police say that Paez Teran fired a bullet that struck an officer and that police then shot and killed the activist. The incident sparked violent protests.
The videos show a lighthearted mood that turns to confusion among the officers who are responding to the scene, as the first shots are heard. Dozens of shots are fired over seven seconds. When the barrage ends, an officer asks whether there is a target practice going on. Another officer clarifies that the shots were “real.” An officer over the radio reports sighting a “green tent probably about 100 meters from the creek.” An officer on the radio asks if there is an active shooter. “Negative, no active shooter,” someone responds. “Subject is barricaded in a tent.” Officers take up positions around a green tent, but according to audio from the body-camera footage, officers report that they are unaware of who is inside. When officers to try to clear the tent, there is no response. Officers begin deploying less-lethal munitions, described as a “PepperBall agent.” After declaring the tent clear, officers stand around and speculate as to what happened. “The video shows that the operation to clear the forest was poorly planned and undisciplined, and the number of times officers fired at Manuel Paez Teran shocks the conscience,” said the lawyers for Paez Teran’s family. The family commissioned an independent autopsy that revealed at least 13 gunshot wounds.