On December 22, 2022, around lunch time, we became aware of a large operation taking place in Weelaunee Peoples’ Park (Intrenchment Creek Park). Many trees were being felled and more of the PATH (paved bicycle route) was being torn up and replaced with gravel and stones. This is a continuation of a process that has been attempted several times since May, but frequently repelled by activists, community members, or “forest defenders” (as the media calls us). In the past, it has sometimes been enough to use words. Other times, lawyers have intervened. At times, we have had to use stones. In any case, the commitment to defending access to public space and the integrity of the forest has been invariant, whatever the methods of defense.
It is not immediately clear who was felling the trees. Whoever they were, they arrived from the gate of the RC field, and the drove straight across it. Trees were cut near the “gas cut” clearing. The bike path was torn up close to the 12 mile marker. Several trees were spray painted with a purple “O” marking.
Protecting the company, who ostensibly were doing illegal work on behalf of Ryan Milsap (real estate mogul, hedge funder, owner of many companies called Blackhall, and partial owner of Shadowbox Studios), was a single man in a Lithonia Police Department jacket. He did not possess other identifiers that would typically be kept by a cop, such as a badge. He attempted to intimidate journalists and community members, who were intransigent. For assistance, he called someone over who was wearing a “Peace Officer” jacket, and also did not possess a badge or other identifying markers. Neither of them had the tense body language, overconfidence, poor affect, or shifty-eyed incompetence of a normal law enforcement official. It is not immediately clear if these men were impersonating police officers at Ryan Milsaps orders, or if they are real cops badly impersonating their co-workers.
In any case, once a handful of people arrived, the work crew fled in a hurry. They seemed determined to not be seen.
B&H Towing and Wrecker towed away the burned remains of Milsap’s trailer bed. It does not seem they were involved in any other capacity.
There are leads, but it is not immediately clear what company was illegally cutting down trees.
It is clear they were working for Milsap. It is not clear if his orders were coming from his Social Circle mansion, or his ugly house in Tuxedo Park.
We will find out soon enough.
– Those Most-Affected Local Community Group