3 arrested for money laundering after protests at future APD training center

3 people arrested for charity fraud after protests over Atlanta Public Safety Training Facility
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 11:43 AM EDT|Updated: May. 31, 2023 at 3:25 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Three people connected to protests at the future site of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center have been arrested, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.

Marlon Scott Kautz, 39, Savannah D Patterson, 30, and Adele Maclean, 42 were all charged with money laundering and charity fraud on May 31.

Kautz, Patterson, and Maclean were all organizers a part of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, an organization that raises money for bail funds.

The GBI said the charges stem from “the ongoing investigation of individuals responsible for numerous criminal acts at the future site of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center and other metro Atlanta locations.”

Atlanta News First talked with Kautz in March after 23 people were charged with domestic terrorism following vandalism at the site of the public safety training center.

Kautz said the Atlanta Solidarity Fund was raising money for defense attorney fees and to help defendants post bail.

“As far as we can tell all of the people arrested yesterday were bystanders who were effectively participating in a music festival,” said Kautz on March 6, adding he didn’t believe there was evidence directly connecting those arrested to the acts of vandalism.

Kautz went on to say that those arrests challenged the first amendment right to protest.

“And if this continues it’s going to have a profound harm on not just this particular social movement, but all political protests throughout Georgia,” Kautz said on March 6.

Kautz was arrested Wednesday morning and faces charges of money laundering and charity fraud.

Evidence was found linking the three to the financial crimes after officers executed a search warrant, officials said.

Kamau Franklin, a community organizer against the planned public safety training center, said the state overstepped in these latest arrests.

“This is nothing more than repression right here, right now happening in Atlanta and Georgia,” Franklin said in an interview on Wednesday.

Franklin said that bail funds have historically been linked to protest groups.

“Bail funds have been historically used, in the civil rights movement, in the labor movement, Dr. King had bail funds, so that organizers and activists when they did civil disobedience or direct action or when they’d get arrested even unexpectedly that there was a way to provide resources so they wouldn’t have to sit in jail. That is what’s being targeted. This is nothing more than political repression of organizers and activists against ‘Cop City,’ said Franklin.

When asked about the timing of the arrests, a GBI spokesperson said, “As with any criminal case, investigative acts are constantly happening.”

Governor Brian Kemp celebrated the arrests on social media on Wednesday, writing:

“We’re proud to share that those who backed their illegal action are also under arrest and will face justice. These criminals facilitated and encouraged domestic terrorism with no regard for others, watching as communities faced the destructive consequences of their actions,” said Kemp, linking the three arrested Wednesday to a larger initiative.

“Today’s announcement is a reminder that we will track down every member of a criminal organization, from violent foot soldiers to their uncaring leaders. We will not rest until they are arrested, tried, and face punishment,” wrote Gov. Kemp.

In a statement obtained by Atlanta News First, DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston wrote: