Protesters clash with police outside future site of Atlanta public safety training facility

ATLANTA — A group protesting the construction of the Atlanta Police Training Facility clashed with police during a march on Monday.

The group of more than 500 protesters gathered around 10:30 a.m. for what they called “collective action” to demand that construction cease on the facility.

Opponents of the training facility have been demonstrating for more than a year. Some set up semi-permanent camps in the forest and got into frequent clashes with police before a protester was killed by troopers earlier this year.

On Monday, the protesters led the march with a sign reading “Viva Tortuguita,” referring to Manuel Teran, the protester who was killed.

Police said that around 10:50 a.m., protestors were informed that they were obstructing the road and they wouldn’t be allowed to keep marching. They ignored commands by police and tried to force their way through a line of 30 officers, police said.

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DeKalb County police then deployed tear gas. The protesters have since returned to Gesham Park. So far, no one has been arrested.


NewsChopper 2 was over the scene Monday, where there were dozens of law enforcement vehicles blocking the road outside the site and officers holding a line and blocking the entrance.

Protesters shielded themselves with umbrellas and masks and sang chants.

The protestors eventually settled at Gresham Park, where they remained peaceful throughout the day.

Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Ashli Lincoln was at the park Monday night, where organizers said they aren’t going to stop protesting until construction stops.

“That’s the kind of momentum that we’ve had here, that we’ve had for the last two-and-a-half years,” one protester said.

Protestors told Lincoln that they saw police throw sound grenades and tear gas and that they brought out a water cannon.

Activist Kamau Franklin said police deployed tear gas after some individuals ignored police commands.

The new police training center will replace current training facilities to help hire and retain public safety officers, police, firefighters and EMTs. Plans include an urban police training village and what are called “burn buildings” for firefighters.

Eight-five acres will house the center. Another 300 acres will be set aside for parks or other green space.

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