ATLANTA — The night began with a music festival at the spot where Atlanta plans to build a police and fire training facility, but it turned into a night of havoc.
Atlanta police said a group of violent agitators used the cover of a peaceful protest of the proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, located near Bouldercrest Road and Key Road, to conduct a coordinated attack on construction equipment and police officers.
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The festival was part of what protestors against the facility called a “week of mobilization” Defend Atlanta forest and Stop Cop City promoted the week-long list of events to show opposition.
They asked people from around the country to stand in solidarity with their cause, and hundreds attended.
Sunday night, attendees told Channel 2′s Courtney Francisco a group branched off of the concert for a protest nearby around 5 p.m.
APD said 100-plus protestors changed into black clothing and entered the construction area and began to throw large rocks, bricks, Molotov cocktails, and fireworks at police officers.
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Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the fire near the controversial proposed police training center.
APD said 35 agitators have been detained so far.
Cameras captured the moment officers detained multiple people at the site.
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Heavy smoke could be seen miles away from the facility.
DeKalb police blocked off the roads leading to the facility. Officials have not confirmed any injuries.
In late February, Channel 2 Action News learned Mayor Andre Dickens is creating a community task force to get input on what to do with that space.
The decision to form the task force came after a lawsuit filed by a neighbor and an environmental group, failed. The lawsuit was filed to stop the construction of the facility
Police now have extra patrols in that area as construction continues after several incidents of violent protests in the past year.
Atlanta police said with protests planned for the coming days, APD and other law enforcement partners have a multi-layered strategy that includes reaction and arrest.
The police asks for this week’s protests to remain peaceful.
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