"ATLANTA — Manuel Esteban Paez Teran seemed to be everyone’s favorite social justice activist.
As an honors psychology student at Florida State University, Paez Teran built community gardens to feed the homeless and frequented demonstrations to support the plight of Palestinians and combat proposals by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to crack down on Black Lives Matter marches.
Then, in May, Paez Teran heard activists in Georgia’s capital were holed up in a 300-acre forest to prevent it from being developed into a massive police training facility, a proposal that has reignited tensions in Atlanta over whether the city should be spending more money on its police force.
“They just knew they had to be there,” Eric Champagne, 36, said of Paez Teran, who was nonbinary. “They saw this as a wake-up call and said they needed to go help.”
Now the 26-year-old activist is dead. Police say that Paez Teran fired a bullet that struck an officer on Jan. 18 and that police then shot and killed the Venezuela native. The death — and a violent protest in downtown Atlanta over the weekend in response — has become the latest flash point between protesters and police after Atlanta was rocked by racial justice protests in 2020."