ATLANTA — With the passing of $67 million, Atlanta city leaders say construction on the new public safety training facility is expected to start in weeks.
“I think you’ll see a lot of activity actually building the project,” Atlanta City Council President Doug Shipman said.
Nearly 400 people, those of who were mostly against the facility being built, spoke for more than 14 hours during Monday’s council meeting.
Council members voted to pass $67 million for the construction. The city council voted 11-4 in favor of the funding bill.
Ultimately the breakdown of the funds comes to $31 million in direct funding plus $1.4 million a year in a lease-back agreement with the Atlanta Police Foundation.
The council members discussed other items on the agenda until it was time to vote around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Chants of “Cop City will never be built” echoed throughout city hall after the legislation passed.
Jason Winston, Amir R. Farokhi, Byron Amos, Alex Wan, Howard Shook, Mary Norwood, Dustin R. Hills, Andrea L. Boone, Marci Collier Overstreet, Michael Julian Bond and Matt Westmoreland voted yes in favor of funding the facility.
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Liliana Bakhtiari, Antonio Lewis, Jason Dozier and Keisha Sean Waites voted no to funding the facility.
With funds approved and the land already cleared, Shipman said the funds will be given to the Atlanta Police Foundation.
From there, the city of Atlanta will take out a loan allowing for construction to start in the Summer.
For two years, the site has seen numerous protests and the arrest of dozens.
Activist Marlon Kautz spoke exclusively with Channel 2 investigative reporter Ashli Lincoln while out on bond after he and two others were arrested and charged on allegations of money laundering and charity fraud. They’re accused of providing funds and supplies for violent protests.
“What I can say is our work, the work of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund will continue no matter what, we know we have broken no laws and we are justified in the work, it’s community work and we’re going to continue doing the work regardless,” Kautz said.
Attorney Jessica Cino with the Krevolin & Horst Law Firm said it wouldn’t be surprising if those against the facility filed another injunction to halt construction.
Cino said while that’s one way to stop construction, legally it will be difficult to argue in court.
“You have the burden of showing what those very bad things are and you basically have to demonstrate that they’re inevitable,” Cino said.
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