The Florida Bar confirmed it is investigating a Southern Poverty Law Center lawyer charged with domestic terrorism following a mob attack on Atlanta’s “Cop City” police training facility.
Thomas Webb Jurgens, a staff attorney for the left-wing nonprofit, was one of 23 people arrested Sunday as violence broke out over the planned construction of the 85-acre facility, though the SPLC said he was only acting as a legal observer.
“The Bar can confirm that there is an open case on the matter,” a spokesperson for the Florida Bar told Fox News Digital. “Florida Bar disciplinary cases are confidential, so we cannot provide further comment.”
Jurgens is licensed to practice law in at least Florida and Georgia, according to a review of the respective bars’ websites.
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Jurgens and the others were charged with domestic terrorism after violence broke out at the site, which saw rioters throwing fireworks and bricks at officers and setting construction vehicles on fire.
The spokesperson for the Florida Bar added that “generally, once notified that a Bar member has been arrested or charged, the Bar reviews the criminal case for appropriate action.” Jurgens is currently listed on the bar’s website as being in good standing.
The spokesperson directed Fox News Digital to the bar’s “Rules of Discipline,” specifically on misconduct, minor misconduct and criminal misconduct.
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Under the rules, a Florida Bar member found guilty in court “of any crime or offense that is a felony under the laws of that court’s jurisdiction is cause for automatic suspension from the practice of law in Florida.” If the judgment or order is modified or stayed by the Florida Supreme Court, the bar member might not face automatic suspension, according to rules of discipline.
Additionally, a member could face disciplinary action from the bar “regardless of whether the respondent has been tried, acquitted, or convicted in a court for an alleged criminal misdemeanor or felony offense.”
“A lawyer shall not … commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects,” the section on “misconduct” states.
The SPLC said in a press release soon after the charge was brought against Jurgens that the lawyer was “acting — and identifying — as a legal observer on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild” during the violent protest on Sunday.
“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,” the SPLC added.
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Left-wing protesters have been pushing back against the planned construction of the police training facility since 2021, when Atlanta approved the project. Environmentalists protesting the plan say the 85-acre complex will destroy the South River Forest, while anti-police activists say it would promote the militarization of the police department.
The protests have since turned violent. In January, a state trooper shot and killed an environmental activist named Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, 26, who reportedly went by the name Tortuguita and identified as nonbinary. Teran was shot after allegedly refusing demands from authorities and firing a gun at state troopers. One trooper, who was wearing a protective vest, was shot in the abdomen and injured, officials said.
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Video from Sunday showed police officers ducking for cover as fireworks and heavy objects were lobbed at them by a group of rioters dressed in black and wearing masks.
Police said “a group of violent agitators used the cover of a peaceful protest of the proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Center to conduct a coordinated attack on construction equipment and police officers.”
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The SPLC announced on Tuesday that Jurgens was released on a consent bond, and SPLC president and CEO Margaret Huang said that the organization is “outraged that police officers present at the protest refused to acknowledge Tom’s role as a legal observer and instead chose to arrest him.”
“The SPLC is known and respected for tracking and exposing far-right extremism and hate. Extremists will exploit any opportunity to criticize us because we are committed to exposing their hateful ideology,” Huang added.
“We will continue to expose and take on the most extreme, racist actors in our country and to defend the rights of all people — including protesters — to express themselves peacefully,” the statement went on. “Challenging far-right extremists is critical to our charge to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements and advance the human rights of all people.”
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Fox News Digital reached out to the State Bar of Georgia about Jurgens but did not receive a reply. Jurgens is also listed as being in good standing for the Georgia Bar.