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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Lewis and Clark graduate accused of participating in violent Atlanta riot

Jan. 23, 2023 Updated Mon., Jan. 23, 2023 at 8:38 p.m.

Atlanta Police Department booking photo of Madeleine Feola.  (Atlanta Police Department)
Atlanta Police Department booking photo of Madeleine Feola. (Atlanta Police Department)

A 22-year-old from Spokane was among several demonstrators arrested over the weekend on suspicion of domestic terrorism after a riot in Atlanta.

According to Atlanta police, Madeleine Feola and five others began Saturday to target buildings and police vehicles.

One unoccupied police vehicle was lit on fire on Saturday, said Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum. Activists also attacked the building that houses the Atlanta Police Foundation with rocks and fireworks. No one was injured and police arrested Feola and the others within two blocks of the property destruction.

Feola’s mother, Laurie Feola, said it was “heartbreaking” for her child to be the subject of national news.

Madeleine Feola graduated from Lewis and Clark High School in 2018, according to Spokesman-Review archives. Feola then went to Oberlin College in Ohio and graduated in 2022 with a science degree.

Feola now goes by the name Henri Feola and identifies as a man.

Laurie Feola, who moved from her home on Spokane’s South Hill to Portland, said her son has been passionate about environmental and social justice issues since he was a teen. He has been living in Atlanta with plans to stay there.

While acknowledging that vandalism and destruction of property had occurred, Laurie Feola said her son should “absolutely not” be charged with domestic terrorism.

“My child is not alone in thinking policing needs some rethinking,” Laurie Feola said.

The protest was in response to a demonstrator who was killed last week by police in Georgia. Authorities said the demonstrator, Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, 26, who went by the name “Tortuguita,” shot and injured a state trooper while law enforcement attempted to clear protesters from the site of a proposed police training facility dubbed by activists and protesters as “Cop City.”

The occupation of the facility’s proposed location has been ongoing since 2021, in part a protest against police, but also in defense of the South River Forest, also known as the Weelaunee Forest.

Demonstrators have disputed the police version of the shooting of Terán, noting the lack of body-camera footage. The Georgia Bureau of Investigations confirmed in a statement on Monday that police were not wearing body cameras at the time of the shooting.

Police said Terán was camping in a tent in the woods and didn’t cooperate with police orders, the bureau said. The bureau said Terán fired first, shooting a state trooper in the stomach before police returned fire.

A 9 mm handgun that was legally purchased in Terán’s name in 2020 was found at the scene, the bureau said.

Several others also were arrested on suspicion of domestic terrorism during a clearing operation at the site of the development that day.

In addition to domestic terrorism, Feola also was arrested on suspicion of second-degree criminal damage, first-degree arson and interference with government property, all of which are felonies, as well as a handful of misdemeanors.

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