Dueling protests over Atlanta public safety training center

ATLANTA — Groups for and against the controversial Atlanta Public Safety Training Center held rallies around Atlanta City Hall seeking the attention of the mayor, city council members and the public.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

“The Atlanta Public Safety Training Center is about making sure our officers, first responders, fire, EMT are well trained to work in an urban environment such as Atlanta. It really sets and example for the rest of the country how to combat crime. We want more officers on the street, but we also want them better trained and that they respect the rights of all citizens,” training center supporter Gabriel Nadales told Channel 2′s Tom Regan.

Nadales, who said he is a former Antifa leader, has decided that police are not an enemy and need the support of communities.

“This type of training is critical to officers,” said Nadales.


Another supporter of the training center is the grandnephew of the late civil rights leader Dr. Joseph Lowery.

“It gives officers the opportunity to get more training, (and) build a better repour. It’s good for the community and will help build the relationship between officers and the community, bring some type of unity and I’m here to support that,” said Pastor David Lowery.

Several dozen people opposed to what they call ‘cop city,’ say it will further militarize officers. They cited what happened on the campus of Emory University when police dispersed a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli encampment several weeks ago.

“We saw what happened with Emory with the violent crackdown from APD that we thought was horrifying. We are seeing the connections between cops and police violence,” said Stop Cop City protestor Neal Sardana.

Sardana and others called on Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens to certify the signatures of 116,000 Atlantans who signed a petition opposing the continued funding of the training center. He said the city council should approve a referendum vote by the city voters.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

“If this is true democracy, Mayor Dickens should be counting and registering every single one of those petition signatures. We know we have hit the threshold for putting this on the ballot,” said Sardana.

The training center project, now an estimated cost of $110 million, is set to be completed in December 2024.


Comments on this article