More FBI door knocks in Atlanta

Federal agents harassment of people at home fits local and national pattern

All opinions expressed herein are that of AARC unless otherwise stated.

AARC continues to track federal law enforcement contact with people across metro Atlanta. On January 15 and 16, we received two reports of FBI contact with Atlanta residents. These instances of FBI harassment fit into a pattern both local and national. In the past week, there have been numerous confirmed reports of FBI contact with anti-racists across the United States, including in Philadelphia, PA, Portland, OR, New Jersey, Arizona and within prisons.

Federal agencies, especially the FBI, have been granted a new legitimacy across the political spectrum following the Trumpist takeover of the U.S. Capitol building in D.C. on January 6th. Institutional consensus directs these agencies to crush those involved in the Capitol takeover. Now the state institutions seeking their own self-preservation are supported also by leftists who wish to see the Capitol protestors jailed. Reports indicate that the FBI, sometimes supported by other police agencies, have approached anti-racists at home asking for their cooperation in sharing information about right-wing organizing, also known as fishing. It is evident that the FBI will also use the newfound support of feds cracking down on "extremism" to continue to harass and repress anti-racist and anti-state movements.

Granting legitimacy to federal and state law enforcement will ultimately always bring the most significant burden of repression on those directly challenging white supremacy and the state. Carceral institutions and technologies do not protect us, and they can not be made to work in our favor.

FBI activity in metro Atlanta

On January 15, 2021, the FBI visited someone in Atlanta seeking to ask them questions. The person contacted refused to speak with the agents and stated they intended to remain silent. The agents left. On January 16, 2021 at 9 am, two FBI agents visited a home in northwest Atlanta and spoke with a resident of the home. The agents asked questions regarding a different person’s arrest for a traffic violation from a protest in summer 2020 and asked about protests planned for the weekend at the state capitol.  The person at the door didn’t answer questions, and instead told the agents to “fuck off.” The agents left.  

As recently as November 2020, there have also been reports on social media of FBI contact with at least one independent journalist who documented BLM protests. The person contacted shared news of FBI contact via social media, but no additional details. 

In late October and early November 2020, FBI raided the homes of five people in the Atlanta area and charged four with federal crimes. Late last summer, federal and state agents, including the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) and Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) visited homes in other areas of Georgia to ask about activity related to protests taking place in Atlanta. 

What to do if you are approached by the FBI

If you are contacted by the FBI or any law enforcement agency, do not answer any questions. They may approach you at home, school, work, or on the street. Do not cooperate. Do not attempt to “talk your way out.” Let the agents know you will not speak with them. 

Tell them, “I want to speak to a lawyer. I do not consent to a search. I am going to remain silent.” If you are under arrest, repeat these phrases, but do not say anything more. Remain silent. 

If they have come to ask questions, you may ask them to leave a card outside the door so a lawyer may get in touch with them later. Then, reach out to your community to alert them of law enforcement presence, and lawyer up. (The Atlanta Solidarity Fund aids protestors in connecting with lawyers. Contact them via their website: atlsolidarity.org. If you reside outside of metro Atlanta, call the NLG Federal Defense Hotline at 212-679-2811.)

If you have been contacted by the FBI or any law enforcement agency, and would like to speak with AARC about your experience or release a public statement, please reach out. Email us at atlantaARC (at) protonmail.com. You may choose to remain anonymous, and details of your experience can be anonymized. 

State repression thrives in secrecy. Remain silent to law enforcement, but be open about repressive contact. Share information about how to prepare for repression. Do not ever cooperate with the state. Do not trust any law enforcement agent. If you have ever participated in a protest, or know someone who has, make sure you know how to protect yourself & others if you are contacted by federal agents. Read more below, and remember: “I want to speak to a lawyer. I do not consent to a search. I am going to remain silent.”

“Right Outside Your Door: If An FBI Agent Knocks”
”When the Police Knock on Your Door: Your Rights and Options”
NLG Federal Repression Resources