A staff attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, a left-wing organization that publishes a "hate map" targeting conservative groups, is among the agitators arrested on domestic terrorism charges for rioting at a proposed police training center in Atlanta.
Authorities arrested Tom Jurgens after the attorney joined more than 30 other black-clad activists who used Molotov cocktails to destroy construction equipment at the construction site of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. The FBI has used the SPLC as a resource in identifying domestic terrorists.
Jurgens's full name on the arrest notice matches information on the State Bar of Georgia site, which confirms his position at the SPLC. The attorney joined the left-wing group in September 2021, reported the Daily Mail, which reviewed his now-deleted LinkedIn profile. Jurgens also studied at the University of Oxford and earned his law degree from the University of Georgia.
The riot was a "very violent attack" for the purpose of "anarchy" and "the attempt to destabilize," Atlanta police chief Darin Schierbaum told the press. Republican Georgia governor Brian Kemp called the attack "domestic terrorism."
The SPLC's targeting of conservative groups with "hate" labels has proved dangerous. In 2012, a gunman entered the Family Research Council, a pro-family-values group, to conduct a mass shooting. He said he was inspired by the SPLC's labeling the council "anti-gay." The left-wing group also listed Ben Carson on an "extremist" watch list but backtracked after criticism in 2014.
Employees in March 2022 accused the SPLC of racism because the group required some employees to come back to the office, the Washington Free Beacon reported. Employees who protested the move said it unfairly targeted black women.
The SPLC did not respond to a request for comment.