On February 25th, Andrew (Drew) Carlisle was arrested in connection to a protest that took place on July 4th, 2020 in Atlanta. While turning himself in for an unrelated probation violation, Drew was informed he had a warrant related to the events of July 4th. The arrest was part of an inter-agency investigation into the July 4th protest, which started at the Zone 3 Precinct and marched to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, which houses the Georgia State Patrol (GSP) HQ. Following the shooting of Rayshard Brooks by Atlanta police officers, protests in the vicinity of the killing were common, leading to the burning of the Wendy's who called the police on Brooks, and demonstrations at the Zone 3 Police Precinct on Cherokee and Atlanta Avenue (now closed). The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) alleges that Drew, along with dozens of others, caused damage to the GSP building and a parked police cruiser during a march of over one hundred people. Drew is the first arrest in connection to the July 4th event, although GBI has contacted people throughout Georgia seeking information. At this time, it is unclear what information GBI is using to connect Drew to the event. He faces one misdemeanor count of riot and two felony counts of criminal interference with government property. He is currently being held without bond.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution published an article on March 1st covering Drew's arrest. The article contained factual errors including Carlisle's age (Drew is 29, not 39), as well as false narratives aligned with those of the police. Our group emailed Asia Simone Burns, the author of the article, with corrections, but the article remains unchanged at the time of this piece's publication.
The March 1st AJC article quotes two individuals, Kelvin Carey (better known as ATL Kell) and self-proclaimed organizer Quinton Davis. The two denounce Drew and the demonstration that took place on July 4th. They claim that the many people who attended the march that evening do not represent the BLM movement, and that Drew, a young Black man, does not represent the movement. Davis has repeatedly given quotes to the media denouncing the movement, while Atl Kell spent much of the summer live-streaming people engaging in illegal action and refusing to stop, despite knowing the police were using his footage to search for protesters. Quinton Davis also posted photos of people on Facebook alleging that they burned down the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was murdered, photos that were shared widely and used by investigators to search for suspects. These two individuals have chosen to side with the state rather than those moved to action by the murder of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks.
At the time the AJC quotes were given, a national trend of these denunciations had begun. Local police, city mayors, and even former US president Donald Trump made statements seeming to echo the perspectives of the liberal activists who had failed to control the rebellion. They claimed that militant antifascists and anarchists, gangsters and “opportunists” were hijacking the movement and using it for their own ends. What is true in these claims is not that “outsiders” stole the mobilizations for personal fame or opportunity, but that many desperate and intelligent people realized that the riots and protests had something to do with radical transformation of society itself, and not the arrest of a single police officer in Minneapolis or Atlanta.
The GBI has been investigating the events of July 4th for eight months and have so far only made one arrest. If GBI or any other state or federal agency contacts you, do not speak to them. Say, "I want to remain silent, I want to speak to a lawyer." If you are visited by an agent, contact the Atlanta Solidarity Fund for help with finding a lawyer. Alert your community that you have been contacted. Email us at AtlantaARC (at) protonmail(dot)com if you would like to post a statement, you can remain anonymous.
If you have committed or witnessed illegal activity, it is best to adopt a policy of don't ask don't tell. Do not brag. Do not speak to police regarding the activity of others.
Drew's birthday is this week. It is crucial to let those incarcerated in the movement know that people on the outside support them. Please send Drew a postcard wishing him a happy birthday. The Gwinnett County Jail, where Drew is being held, only accepts plain postcards that contain no drawings, written with blue or black ink. They will not accept letters or postcards with images. Remember that Drew is pre-trial, and anything you write can be used against him in court. Please do not discuss the details of his case.
Guilty or innocent, solidarity with Drew.
Andrew Carlisle # 1902379
Gwinnett County Jail
2900 University Parkway
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30043