TFC News

Activists oppose construction of new Atlanta police facility

Lenn Almadin-Thornhill | TFC News Georgia

Posted at Sep 30 2023 04:53 PM

Residents in Georgia have opposed the construction of a new public safety center in Atlanta.

The pushback follows outcry from the death of an activist in the hands of the police in January this year.

Opposition to the facility, nicknamed "Cop City" has been growing after the $90 million project was approved by the city council.

Officials said that the new 85 acres training center is much needed for the city. Public safety officers currently do not have a centralized training facility, while various training locations are in disrepair.

But many fear that the new center could militarize the police.

“There are all people who are really easily victimized by the police and are frequently victimized and harassed, and often, murdered by police," said Anna Theodore of the Malaya Movement - Georgia. "I think most people who have some sort of semblance of conscience have climbed aboard the movement in many ways.”  

Said Marte White of the Malaya Movement: "Police from all over the United States will be trained at this facility if it’s constructed. So, this example of militarized policing will affect people who are not just living in Atlanta proper. It will affect people all over Georgia. It could affect people all over the United States."

The "Stop Cop City" coalition said it has gathered enough signatures to put a referendum on the ballot.

Georgia's attorney general indicted earlier this month 61 people connected with the Stop Cop City movement. The State alleged that the defendants are militant anarchists who supported a violent movement.

On Sept. 28, press freedom and human rights groups, including Amnesty International USA, urged Georgia to drop the charges.

The groups said the move is an abuse of the criminal legal system, and that the protesters' actions are protected by the First Amendment.

The 61 individuals charged for alleged anarchist actions will face the court on Nov. 6 for their arraignment.