A Kennebunkport man is quickly racking up domestic terrorism charges in Georgia after he was arrested Saturday for the second time in as many months.

Francis Carroll Fulton County Jail photo

Police said Francis Carroll, 22, participated in what began as a peaceful protest but ended with people smashing windows and setting a police cruiser on fire.

Protesters have been gathering in Atlanta in recent months as part of the “Defend the Atlanta Forest” movement to oppose construction of a $90 million police training center. Saturday’s demonstration also protested the death of a man, identified as 26-year-old Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, who was killed by police during a Jan. 18 protest at the site where he shot and wounded a police officer, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Carroll was one of six people arrested Saturday, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said, for choosing to use “the First Amendment as a shield of illegal activity.”

Joshua Schiffer, the attorney who represented Carroll during a court appearance in December, did not immediately respond to an interview request about his client. During a virtual bond hearing last month, Schiffer called Carroll and another defendant he represents “political prisoners,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“These are political prisoners that are protesting, using their First Amendment right to set forth what is clearly a popular opinion that this property should not be developed in the manner that local government has determined it should be,” Schiffer said during the hearing.


Carroll was already out on a $13,500 bond for a previous domestic terrorism arrest in December, in which police said he was involved in a standoff and fight with police that began when Atlanta officers and GBI agents tried to remove barricades blocking entrances to the site. Protesters are accused of throwing glass bottles and rocks, possessing pipe bombs and resisting arrest.

A judge ordered him not to contact the other protesters, the activist group on social media or return to the site of the training center. Carroll and other protesters from outside Georgia also had to waive their extradition rights.

Schierbaum said during a weekend news conference that Saturday’s demonstration began around 5 p.m. with people marching down Peachtree Street. As the group moved through the city, a small number of protesters broke windows at three businesses and set a police cruiser on fire. No one was hurt.

Carroll’s new charges include domestic terrorism, arson, willful obstruction of law enforcement, criminal damage to property, interference with government property, riot, unlawful assembly and possession of tools for commission of a crime. He remains in custody at the Fulton County Jail.

The domestic terrorism charge carries a sentence of five to 35 years in prison.

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