…By Judah Olanisebee for TDPel Media.
Atlanta Approves Funding for Police Training Center Despite Opposition from Activists
The city of Atlanta has given the green light for the construction of a new police training center, dubbed ‘Cop City’ by its opponents.
The decision came after a contentious 11-4 vote by the City Council, following hours of passionate opposition from hundreds of activists who packed City Hall.
The protesters argued that the project, estimated to cost $90 million, would have a detrimental impact on the local environment and further strengthen the police force.
Throughout the lengthy meeting, residents took turns at the podium to voice their concerns about the project.
Emory University professor Sara McClintock passionately urged council members to reject or reconsider the training center, stating that it does not contribute to peace or the betterment of the city.
Despite the opposition, the council ultimately approved $31 million in public funds for the construction, along with a provision requiring the city to pay an additional $36 million over 30 years for utilizing the facility.
The funding for the project will come from a combination of public and private sources.
While the decision has faced widespread criticism and sparked the decentralized ‘Stop Cop City’ movement, the Atlanta Police Foundation has stated that private donations will also contribute to the funding.
The movement gained momentum after the fatal police shooting of Manuel Paez Terán, a 26-year-old activist known as ‘Tortuguita,’ who was camping in the proposed project area.
The vote took place amid heightened security measures, with an increased police presence at City Hall and restrictions on certain items inside the building.
In a separate development, three organizers from the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, which supports arrested protesters, were recently arrested on charges of money laundering and charity fraud.
Mayor Andre Dickens hailed the budget resolution’s passage as a significant milestone in enhancing the preparedness and training of Atlanta’s emergency responders.
He emphasized that the city aims to become a national model for police reform, implementing progressive training and curriculum.
The plans for the training center were initially approved by the City Council in September 2021 but required a subsequent vote for additional funding.
City officials argue that the new campus, spanning 85 acres, will replace inadequate training facilities and help address the challenges of recruitment and retention of police officers.
However, opponents, including activists from around the country, express concerns about increased police militarization and environmental damage resulting from the project.
The opposition to ‘Cop City’ has also seen instances of violence and vandalism.
Protesters have been camping at the proposed site for months, leading to clashes with law enforcement officers.
Acts of vandalism targeting businesses affiliated with the Atlanta Police Foundation and Cop City have been reported across the United States, with members of the Stop Cop City movement claiming responsibility.