ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Police Department motorcycles were damaged in an intentional fire caused by devices set inside a training facility early Saturday, officials said.
The Atlanta Fire and Rescue Department responded to reports of a multi-vehicle fire around 2:20 a.m. and found multiple motorcycles on fire, WANF-TV reported.
Firefighters at the scene found “incendiary devices” used to start the fire, officials said. The location of the fire Saturday on Southside Industrial Parkway was not the same as the planned Atlanta Public Safety Training Center that has drawn protests from opponents, WANF reported.
The fire department was investigating but there was no immediate information about any arrests or whether the fire was classified as arson, WANF reported.
An Atlanta Police spokesperson told The Associated Press on Sunday morning that the fire is under investigation but did not offer more information on the number or type of devices found.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said in a written statement that the fire was an “outrageous and completely inexcusable” planned destruction of property that put lives and community assets in danger.
“Those are the tactics of organized criminals, not protestors, and their supporters should ask themselves if they truly want to be associated with such radical and violent people,” Kemp said. “Working with state, local, and federal law enforcement partners, we will find these criminals and bring them to justice. ”
Kemp’s statement posted on social media did not offer specifics about any groups or individuals who might be the focus of an investigation.
Opponents of the $90 million training center hope to force a referendum on the building of the contested project, which they say will lead to greater police militarization while its construction will exacerbate environmental damage in a poor, majority-Black area.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and others say the center would replace inadequate training facilities and help address difficulties in hiring and retaining officers that worsened after nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice three years ago.
More than 40 people have been charged with domestic terrorism in connection with protests at the site, where authorities fatally shot an environmental activist in January while clearing a camp being used by activists. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the case in which city officials say officers fired in self-defense after the protester shot a trooper.
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