The city of Atlanta is facing a firestorm of criticism after a peaceful protest turned into a night of chaos and destruction in the wake of the death of 26-year-old environmental activist Manuel Esteban Paez Teran at the hands of police. The protest began peacefully on Saturday with protesters carrying signs with the activist’s nickname, Tortuguita (“little turtle” in Spanish), and using they/it pronouns. However, as the night progressed, things quickly devolved into a scene of destruction as rioters set off fireworks, threw rocks at the Atlanta Police Foundation, and set a police car on fire. “Atlanta is safe, and our police officers have resolved the disruptions downtown from earlier in the evening,” City of Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said Saturday evening. “The City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Police Department will continue to protect the right to peaceful protest. We will not tolerate violence or property destruction.” The conflict between protesters and police began after Esteban Paez Teran was killed by police on Wednesday after allegedly refusing demands by authorities on the site of the new Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. The Georgia State Patrol trooper who was shot in the abdomen by Teran is in stable condition and recovering from surgery. In response to the riots that ensued, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp released a statement condemning the violence. “While the state continues to respect peaceful protest, acts of violence against person or property will not be tolerated. Those committing such unlawful acts will be arrested and prosecuted fully,” he said. The incident in Atlanta sparked a heated debate about police-community relations and civil rights. Those on the conservative side of the argument have criticized the protesters for what they see as a lack of respect for the law and a propensity for violence. “What we’ve seen over the last week is a complete breakdown in the rule of law,” said Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler in an interview with Fox News. “Violence and destruction of property is not the answer. We must restore law and order and reject the radical left’s agenda that seeks to defund the police and sow chaos in our communities.” According to The Blaze, the protests quickly turned violent as some demonstrators began to smash windows, set fires, and attack police officers. The Blaze reported that several businesses in the area were vandalized and set on fire and that several police cars were also damaged. The Blaze also reported that some of the protesters were seen attacking a police car, with one person throwing a brick through the windshield. Another video posted on The Blaze showed a group of protesters setting a police car on fire. In the midst of the chaos, Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant issued a statement, saying, "We are aware of the incident that occurred tonight and the actions of a few individuals who have chosen to engage in criminal behavior. We are working to address the situation and bring peace to our communities."