ATLANTA (AP) — Roads between the Atlanta airport and the Fulton County Jail had been blocked off as former President Donald Trump arrived in a motorcade to show himself in on prices associated to his efforts to stay in energy after his 2020 election loss, giving the scene one thing of a presidential aura.
However Trump was going to do one thing no different president has ever completed — give up for reserving on legal prices and have a mug shot taken.
As phrase unfold that Trump was on his method, demonstrators close to the principle entrance on the Rice Avenue facet of the jail lined safety barricades two to 3 deep. There have been extra Trump supporters than opponents braving the extreme Georgia summer time warmth, however each teams had been outnumbered by media. The gang, which started gathering within the morning, had grown because the hour of Trump’s reserving approached.
Trump entered on the other facet, alongside Jefferson Avenue, the place police had blocked off the doorway. Fulton County sheriff’s deputies blocked one finish of the block with an empty prisoner bus, whereas a county dump truck blocked the opposite finish.
Many within the crowd wore pro-Trump T-shirts and waved giant flags, together with one which proclaimed “TRUMP WON.” Shortly after 6 p.m., U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican and a staunch Trump defender, spoke briefly to the group.
“I’m telling you proper now, common People are watching this, and they’re disgusted and so they’re outraged,” she instructed reporters shortly earlier than Trump’s arrival.
It was the fourth time this yr that Trump, the early front-runner within the 2024 Republican presidential main, was booked on legal prices. However not like his earlier arrests, which occurred in courthouses simply earlier than preliminary appearances earlier than a choose, this time he needed to flip himself in at a notoriously troubled jail. In one other departure, he had a reserving photograph taken.
Trump and 18 others had been indicted final week, accused by Fulton County District Lawyer Fani Willis of taking part in a sprawling scheme to undermine the desire of Georgia voters, who had narrowly rejected the Republican incumbent in favor of Democrat Joe Biden. Lots of the others charged turned themselves in on the jail earlier this week, together with Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis on Wednesday and John Eastman on Tuesday.
Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat had stated Trump, and the others on this case, can be handled like anybody else — notably saying at a information convention earlier this month: “Except anyone tells me otherwise, we’re following our regular practices, and so it doesn’t matter your standing, we’ll have a mugshot prepared for you.”
However the scene exterior the jail was something however regular Thursday.
It included supporters of the previous president reminiscent of Cliff MacMorris, 66, from Naples, Florida, who held a flag that learn, “Trump Gained Save America.”
He and his spouse, Georgine, spent the night time in Atlanta.
“You don’t have the proper to persecute anyone unjustly,” Cliff MacMorris stated.
His spouse stated the indictments in opposition to the previous president had been politically motivated due to the 4 years of “prosperity, security, freedom” that Trump achieved within the White Home.
“They should be nervous about him for some purpose,” she stated.
Sharon Anderson, 67, from east Tennessee, was exterior the jail for a second straight day. She had spent the night time in a automobile with the air con working.
“I’m right here to assist Donald J. Trump. I would like him to see a number of the thousands and thousands that present up on the polls for him.”
She stated the indictments in opposition to Trump had solely strengthened her assist for him. The previous president questioned the election outcomes, which isn’t against the law, she stated.
Whereas the group was largely made up of Trump supporters, 64-year-old Laurie Arbeiter, who’s from New York Metropolis, wore a shirt that stated “Arrest Trump” and carried greater than 50 black-and-white indicators along with her, together with ones that learn “Convict Trump” and “Trump is a Traitor.” She stated she’d additionally traveled to different locations the place Trump was indicted.
As noon temperatures hovered close to 90 levels, sheriff’s deputies in vests toweled off and sought shade below a tree.
The primary Fulton County Jail, also referred to as the Rice Avenue Jail, is positioned in a historically industrial a part of northwest Atlanta the place warehouses are at present being redeveloped for retail and residential use. It’s set again from the road by a protracted, tree-lined driveway that results in a car parking zone in entrance of the jail’s imposing façade.
On most days, the general public and information media are free to drive proper as much as the entrance of the jail, and information cameras have captured the arrivals and departures of many high-profile individuals who have been booked into the jail. However with the reserving of a former president looming, the driveway off the principle road in entrance of the jail had been closed off for days, with no reporters or cameras allowed inside viewing distance of that entrance.
Safety tightened additional on Thursday. Whereas automobiles had been allowed on the Rice Avenue facet of the jail a day earlier, sheriff’s deputies lower off car site visitors on Thursday. Some deputies wore vests and coated their faces with black masks. They fashioned a line alongside the road.
Members of a bunch known as Blacks for Trump hurled racial slurs at Black sheriff’s deputies. However the demonstration was in any other case peaceable.
Whereas others who’re booked there spend months and even years within the facility awaiting indictment or trial, Trump left the jail 20 minutes after surrendering. The jail is tormented by crumbling infrastructure and overcrowding. On Thursday morning, the jail housed 2,618 folks, above its capability of two,254, in response to knowledge from the sheriff’s workplace.
The U.S. Division of Justice final month introduced a civil rights investigation into jail circumstances in Fulton County, citing violence, filth and the loss of life final yr of a person whose physique was discovered coated in bugs.
Related Press writers Jeff Amy and Jeff Martin contributed.