Who is Thomas Jurgens? SPLC lawyer involved in Atlanta Cop City attack

The group that was reportedly involved in the attack has not officially been linked to any organization (image via Atlanta Police/The Associated Press)
The group that was reportedly involved in the attack has not officially been linked to any organization (image via Atlanta Police/The Associated Press)

On Monday, March 6, authorities announced that Southern Poverty Law Center lawyer Thomas Jurgens was allegedly among 23 protesters who attacked a planned Atlanta training facility.

According to the New York Post, on Sunday, March 5, Thomas Jurgens and a group of other protestors threw Molotov cocktails at 'Cop City', the Public Safety Training Center that appeared to be targeted by the group.

In response, the Atlanta police described the situation as 'domestic terrorism', though the charges against the suspects have not yet been disclosed.

Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum condemned the incident:

“This was a very violent attack, very violent attack."

He continued:

“This wasn’t about a public safety training center. This was about anarchy (…) and we are addressing that quickly.”

Yahoo noted that the incident, which was reportedly caught on surveillance cameras, led to a blaze that warranted the arrival of the Atlanta Fire department.

The New York Post reported that the site of the attack was the same spot where 26-year-old environmental activist Esteban Paez Teran was fatally shot in January.

Thomas Jurgens has been working with the staff attorney with SPLC since 2021

As per the Washington Times, Thomas Jurgens has been with a staff attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center since September 2021.

His LinkedIn page, which has since been taken down, stated that before he began his work on the SPLC's Economic Justice Project, he served as an assistant public defender in Florida, as well as a legal intern at DeKalb County public defender's office.

While it is unknown how long Thomas Jurgens has been associated with the protest group, Atlanta authorities claimed that they are a violent terrorist organization operating under the guise of peaceful demonstrators.

While the SPLC was criticized over Jurgen's alleged involvement in the attack, the organization claimed that the authorities were overstepping their boundaries and that the accusations of 'domestic terrorism' were too harsh.

In an official statement, an SPLC spokesperson said:

"The employee is an experienced legal observer, and their arrest is not evidence of any crime, but of heavy-handed law enforcement intervention against protesters."

In a statement countering the SPLC's defense of Jurgen, conservative commentator Charlie Kirk said:

"Here are the 25 Antifa thugs who burned down government property and assaulted cops yesterday in Atlanta, including an SPLC lawyer. How many FBI agents were reassigned to harass parents, pro-life activists, and Catholics instead of arrest these terrorists?"

While the authorities did not confirm which organization Jurgen's group was affiliated with, many claimed that the attack had been coordinated and executed by members of Antifa, a radical left-wing protest group that has been linked to incidents of violence in the past.

Besides the 23 attackers arrested at the scene, at least 12 others were arrested in connection to the attack.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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