John “Jack” Mazurek was arrested in his home in southeast Atlanta in the early morning of February 8th, 2024. That morning, a combined taskforce of Atlanta PD, Georgia State Patrol, SWAT, and FBI conducted raids on three houses, including Jack’s. In the course of these raids, law enforcement officers dragged Atlanta residents out of their homes by their hair, sexually harassed them, detained them for as long as 8 hours before letting them go, and trashed their belongings.

The authorities say they targeted these houses because of their connection with the Defend the Forest / Stop Cop City movement—the latest media stunt in an attempt to intimidate activists and repress the movement against Cop City.

Jack is a homeowner and small business owner who is concerned about the future of Atlanta. It’s this concern that led him to become an outspoken opponent of Cop City, like thousands of other Atlantans. Jack participated in public comment at Atlanta City Hall in May and June of 2023 – events that exceeded any previous participation in public comment in Atlanta history. Since his arrest, he has been held without bail at Fulton County Jail, which is notorious for its inhumane conditions.

Attempts to repress the first amendment rights of Stop Cop City activists have made headlines internationally, and authorities have made it clear that there is NO form of activism and political organizing that they will accept. 116,000 signatures (twice the number of people who voted for Mayor Dickens) were collected to further a citywide referendum on the topic of Cop City, only for the city to refuse to authorize the referendum process. Dozens of activists were charged under Georgia’s Domestic Terrorism law after attending a music festival in the South River Forest, and 61 have been indicted under RICO, a law designed to target organized crime, for activities like handing out fliers. In early February, The Georgia House of Representatives passed SB63, a bill that criminalizes not-for-profit bails funds like the Atlanta Solidarity Fund. Jack’s arrest is the latest episode in this attempt to repress political expression in Georgia.