2 charged in Atlanta terror attack have Midwest activism links

Protests at the site have been ongoing since 2020, bringing together anti-police agitators and environmental activists who are opposed to the facility’s use of forested land on the outskirts of Atlanta.

Atlanta
Victor Puertas, left, and Grace Martin are charged with domestic extremism in connection to Sunday's attack. (Atlanta Police Department)

Two of the individuals charged with domestic terrorism in Sunday’s attack on the site of a proposed police training facility in Atlanta, Ga., have connections to environmental movements in the Midwest.

Grace Martin, 22, worked as a fellow for 350 Wisconsin Action from September 2022 to March 3, 2023, two days before the attack, the group told Alpha News.

She is now facing charges of domestic terrorism for her alleged involvement in a “coordinated attack” on the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, which is currently under construction.

“A group of violent agitators used the cover of a peaceful protest of the proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Center to conduct a coordinated attack on construction equipment and police officers. They changed into black clothing and entered the construction area and began to throw large rocks, bricks, Molotov cocktails, and fireworks at police officers,” the Atlanta Police Department said in a statement, releasing video of the fiery assault.

Martin was listed as a staff member on 350 Wisconsin Action’s website as of Wednesday morning but was removed after Alpha News reached out for comment. Both the Wisconsin and Minnesota affiliates of the international environmental group 350.org were active opponents of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline replacement project, which was completed in 2021.

“350 Wisconsin Action does not condone the use of violence, or the destruction of property,” the group said in a statement. “Grace was a valued member of the staff team. At no time did she show interest in, or support of, protests that included violent actions, including destruction of property.”

One other Wisconsin woman has been charged in the act of domestic terrorism.

46-year-old Victor Puertas from Utah is also facing charges. Puertas was previously arrested and charged in connection to a March 2021 anti-Line 3 protest in Hubbard County, Minn. Social media posts link the same Puertas to the Line 3 protests and the Atlanta attack.

An attorney for the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center is also among the 23 agitators charged with domestic terrorism.

Sunday’s assault was part of a pre-planned “week of action” organized in “revenge” for the shooting death of Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, who was killed by police in January during a raid on a protest encampment, according to Post Millennial senior editor Andy Ngo.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Terán shot at a state trooper while police cleared the site.

Protests at the site have been ongoing since 2020, bringing together anti-police agitators and environmental activists who are opposed to the facility’s use of forested land on the outskirts of Atlanta.

“As I’ve said before, domestic terrorism will NOT be tolerated in this state. As we continue to respect peaceful protest, we will also continue to ensure safety in our communities,” said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. “We will not rest until those who use violence and intimidation for an extremist end are brought to full justice.”

Puertas and Martin are being held without bond, as are most defendants because of their potential flight risk. Only two of the defendants have Georgia addresses.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr suspects a “well-organized national group” is to blame.

“There is no doubt about it,” he said.

 

Anthony Gockowski
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Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and wrote for the Daily Caller.