June 1, 2023

350.org Calls on Georgia Officials to Release Atlanta Solidarity Fund Organizers

Atlanta, Georgia — This week, the Atlanta Police Department raided the home of and arrested three organizers with the Atlanta Solidarity Fund. In response, 350.org issued the following letter to Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr & Governor Brian Kemp:

Dear Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr & Governor Brian Kemp,

On the morning of May 31st, the Atlanta Police Department raided the home of three organizers with the Atlanta Solidarity Fund (ASF), a nonprofit organization and bail fund founded in 2016 offering legal support to those facing state repression for protest-related activity. ASF has been an outspoken critic of state repression of social movements, use of chemical weapons on protesters, and increasing police militarization. Marlon Kautz, Savannah Patterson, and Adele Mclean were arrested and have been charged with money laundering and charity fraud. These three are the first known people associated with a bail fund to be criminally charged.

We see this as an extreme and dangerous provocation by the Atlanta Police Department and the State of Georgia. The undersigned organizations and individuals call for their immediate release and the end to all prosecutions of people protesting. Bailing out protestors who exercise their constitutionally protected rights is simply not a crime. In fact, it is a historically grounded tradition in the very same social and political movements that the city of Atlanta prides itself on. Someone had to bail out civil rights activists in the 60’s. Community support isn’t a crime—it’s a fundamental and sacred pillar of our democracy.

While police have continually escalated their attacks on protestors over the past year, ASF have supported those who are repressed for simply expressing their political voice. Since 2019, the communities of Atlanta have consistently voiced their opposition to the $90 million dollar police training facility known as Cop City. In response, prosecutors have charged 42 people with domestic terrorism, and Georgia State Patrol murdered a protester, Tortuguita, in January. Since this murder, nearly 30 additional people have been charged with domestic terrorism for their alleged participation in protests, and some for simply attending a music festival organized in support of the movement. At this time, three people remain in jail, bond having been refused by the courts multiple times. This week’s arrests are the latest escalation in the state’s efforts to intimidate, criminalize, and silence lawful protest.

We demand that the arrested people be released and that the State of Georgia cease prosecuting those who are engaged in protest and those helping accused people mount a defense.