In 2021, Atlanta, Ga., officials approved a sprawling $90 million facility called the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center in a ham-fisted attempt to create police reform. Since its announcement, racial justice and environmental activists have been passionately protesting against the site, dubbing it "Cop City" for its negative environmental impact and concerns it will only further police violence.
In 2023, NBC News reported that protests escalated after the police shot and killed a protestor, Tortuguita. In 2024, activists are still determined to make their voices heard and end the harmful project. Here's what you need to know about the current protests against Cop City in Atlanta, explained.
Activists in Atlanta, Ga., locked themselves to construction equipment to hinder work on Cop City.
On Jan. 29, 2024, two activists locked themselves to construction equipment at a Brasfield & Gorrie work site in Midtown Atlanta. The entrances to the work site were also blockaded, fully halting work for the day, per local Atlanta news outlet 11 Alive.
Brasfield & Gorrie is the lead contractor for Cop City. The activists hoped to pressure the company to cut ties with the project, per a press release from the activist organization Drop Cop City.
Brasfield & Gorrie also pledged to donate $1 million to the Atlanta Police Foundation, which is responsible for the Cop City project.
11 Alive also reported that public outcry against the project has ramped up in recent months after the project's cost extended from $90 million to nearly $110 million.
Mariah Parker, a Stop Cop City activist, said in a statement sent to Green Matters: "Brasfield & Gorrie should expect disruptions at their worksites everywhere, and anytime. People of good conscience will continue taking action against Brasfield & Gorrie until they join the host of other contractors who have cut ties with Cop City."
According to the Drop Cop City press release, multiple contractors, including Reeves Young Construction and Atlas Technical Consultants, have left the Cop City project since its inception.
Not to mention, activists and Atlanta residents have become frustrated that despite gathering over 100,000 signatures for making Cop City a ballot referendum, Mayor Andre Dickens and the Atlanta City Council have not given voters a voice.
Temperance Blick, one of the activists who locked themselves to construction equipment, stated:
"As a volunteer for the Cop City Vote referendum initiative, I knocked on doors across Atlanta gathering petition signatures, including in this exact neighborhood where I took action today. Myself and countless other residents have tried every legal avenue to Stop Cop City — but the City government has stonewalled us every step of the way. I don't want to have to be doing this today, but direct action and civil disobedience are the only options we have left."
Atlanta police eventually arrived on the scene and took the activists into custody, reported FOX 5 News. The protest lasted several hours and included a wider group of protestors on the street outside the construction facility.
The two people who were arrested, Shiloh Wetstone of Atlanta and Temperance Blick, are facing unknown charges, per a second Drop Cop City release sent to Green Matters, as Fulton County Jail's booking systems were offline all day.
This article, initially published on Jan. 29, 2024, has been updated.