ATLANTA — Over the last several months, protestors have made clear that they are against a new state-of-the-art Atlanta police training facility being built in DeKalb County.
The proposed facility will take up an 85-acre plot of land off of Key Road in the largest urban forest in metro Atlanta.
Protestors say the facility would be bad for the community and for the environment.
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Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Mark Winne was among the protestors when they began their demonstration in Little Five Points.
“The Atlanta City Council may have decided to build the project in 2021, but the people say no,” protestor Steven Hall said.
Hall says Friday’s protest was the beginning of a weekend of action meant to build community and “stop cop city.”
The protest comes just one day after Channel 2 Action News revealed there are more than a dozen incidents aimed at stopping the building of the training center being investigated by local, state and federal authorities.
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Some of those incidents include:
- Protesters throwing a Molotov cocktail at police officers as they attempted to arrest them for trespassing on the grounds of what will be the new training center.
- A fire at the westside At-Promise Center, which is a crime diversion program geared toward supporting at-risk youth in Atlanta.
- Vandalism of the Cobb County office of a building contractor working on the project, and weeks later vandalism at the Cobb County home of an executive.
- On several occasions, barricades or other material on the construction site set on fire on or near the project site.
- Ball bearings propelled via slingshot at a utility van, causing damage.
- Vandalism of the offices of the parent company of a subcontractor working on the project — located in Florida, Nebraska, Minnesota and New York — which included spray-painted phrases alluding to the Atlanta project.
Atlanta police released a statement on Friday that read:
“The Atlanta Police Department is no stranger to protests. We respect and support the public’s right to be heard. Our focus today and every day is public safety, being responsive to our community and the welfare of all our officers. We will be closely monitoring activity throughout the city and will work to ensure all demonstrations remain peaceful and participants are safe. We remain steadfast in our mission.”
Activists say they are not concerned about APD’s investigation.
“I’m not concerned with the alleged investigation of criminal activities because I know that there is a strong movement of organizers, neighbors and concerned Atlantans who are peacefully protesting the construction of this facility,” Jesse Pratt Lopez said.
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Hall told Winne that opposition for the training center is driven by many factors from the alleged militarization of police to protecting communities to protecting the urban forest.
Supporters of the center say it will help continue building police culture that better protects the civil rights of Atlantans. They also say the city has guaranteed to replace any hardwoods destroyed during constructing with 100 new plantings.
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