Home » Why are people protesting Atlanta’s ‘Cop City’?

Why are people protesting Atlanta’s ‘Cop City’?

by The Grio

Demonstrators gather outside of Atlanta’s City Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, as local officials announce they are moving forward with plans to build the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. The protesters have called for officials to abandon plans for the project which they derisively call Cop City. (AP Photo/R.J. Rico)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

Despite yearlong protests from environmental and anti-police activists in the Atlanta area, and right on the heels of the police killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Atlanta officials announced the construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center — dubbed “Cop City” by activists — will move forward.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond cleared the way for the 85-acre, $90 million complex on city-owned forest land that sits near a predominately Black community. According to the Atlanta Police Foundation — the organization leasing the land and funding two thirds of the facility with Atlanta taxpayers picking up the rest of the tab — the training center promises to “reimagine law enforcement training and Police/Fire Rescue community engagement.”

This complex will reportedly contain training facilities for urban warfare tactics, explosive testing sites, firing range, a Black Hawk helicopter landing pad and more.

In September 2021, the Atlanta City Council approved a plan to build the facility in a 10-4 vote. Then-Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms supported the plan, calling the council vote “courageous” and rejecting the idea that we must “defund the police” as Black Lives Matter protesters have advocated. “What I’ve said repeatedly over the last year is that holding the men and women who serve us in a public safety capacity accountable is not mutually exclusive from supporting them,” Bottoms said,…

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