Police shot and killed a protester during a sweep to clear a wooded area outside Atlanta to make way for “Cop City”, a new $90 million training facility on Wednesday. Protesters have been defending the area — in the ancestral homeland of the Muscogee Creek people and later a plantation worked by enslaved people before the Civil War and incarcerated people during the Jim Crow era through 1990 — against the expansion and entrenchment of militarized law enforcement.

“No one can bring our friend back to us,” activists said in a statement. “An innocent life has been taken and the machines continue.” Georgia officials claim an officer was shot “without warning” — a claim for which they have produced no evidence and which activists with Defend the Atlanta Forest dispute. Activists plan to pursue “a vigorous legal strategy” to determine the facts around the killing.

“We are concerned a police coverup could be underway,” Atlanta Solidarity Fund, which is providing legal support, posted on Twitter. “We are preparing a legal team to investigate and pursue a wrongful death suit.” Cops in the U.S. shot and killed at least 1,176 people in 2022, the most since data began being collected in 2013. (New York Times $, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Unicorn Riot, WABE, The Independent, Daily Beast, Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Police killings: The Guardian, Washington Post $, Bloomberg $, Vice, Truthout)