Francis Carroll DeKalb County (Georgia) Sheriff’s Office photo

ATLANTA – A Kennebunkport man facing felony and misdemeanor charges in connection with an alleged violent protest at the site of a planned Atlanta public safety training center  has been released on bail.

Francis Carroll, 22,  was among five people arrested Dec. 13. He is charged with two counts of domestic terrorism, aggravated assault, interference with government property, all felonies, and misdemeanor criminal trespass.

He and four others were originally held in custody without bail at DeKalb County Jail following a hearing on Dec. 13.

Carroll was released Dec. 29, with conditions, following a hearing Dec. 27, according to DeKalb County records. Dekalb County Superior Court Judge Robin Mathews ordered Carroll released on $13,500 cash or surety on the five charges. Conditions of release include that he stay away from the forest area and roads in and around the location of the training center property, that he have no contact with the four other defendants in the case, that he have no contact with the Defend the Atlanta Forest Organization through social media, and that he waive extradition from any state or country as it pertains to the charges and agrees to pay associated costs if the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office is required to transport him from another jurisdiction.

Three others charged along with Carroll were also released on bail, according to court records. There was no information available on the fifth individual who was also charged on Dec. 13.

DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston said barricades were illegally constructed and placed at the planned training center location, blocking entrances.


“During an attempt to remove these barricades, DeKalb County firefighters, Atlanta Police Department officers and a patrol car were attacked with rocks and incendiary weapons,” Boston said in a news release issued following the five defendants’ first court appearance Dec. 15.

Several people allegedly threw rocks at police cars and attacked EMTs outside the neighboring fire stations with rocks and bottles, according to a news release issued by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which was part of a joint operation that also included DeKalb County Police Department, Atlanta Police Department, and other law enforcement agencies.

Protesters have also set up and occupied treehouses in the forest to try to block construction of the $90 million facility.

An agreement with the Atlanta Police Foundation to build a public safety training campus on city-owned property was passed by the Atlanta City Council in September 2021. The land is the site of the former Atlanta prison farm, and the Atlanta Police Department operates a firing range there.

“The Atlanta Police Foundation intends to fund and build a state-of-the-art facility on 85 acres and preserve the remaining portion of the 265-acres property as greenspace, which is currently not accessible to the public,” according to a city news release issued at the September 2021 announcement. “The exterior land will feature passive recreation areas with minimal environmental impact to the nearby forest area. The campus will provide training to members of Atlanta Police Department, Atlanta Fire Rescue, and E911 to ensure best practices in public safety and police instruction.”

A group called Defend the Atlanta Forest has called on people to join them in opposition to the project. A June news release from the group said two “tree sits” had been built and occupied on the site of what they called “Cop City” and noted at that time that tree cutting to prepare the site for the building project was beginning. Tree sitting has a decades-long history as a tactic of civil disobedience to slow or halt environmentally harmful construction projects, the Defend the Atlanta Forest news release stated.

“I strongly believe in the right to peacefully protest for what one believes is right and just,” said Boston, the DeKalb District Attorney. “However, I draw the line at violence, destruction of property, and threatening and causing harm to others … the alleged acts of violence at the training facility site put the public in grave danger and will not be tolerated.”

There was no immediate word on the scheduling of a next court appearance. Individuals charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

Carroll is a 2018 graduate of Kennebunk High School.

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