‘Cop City’: Atlanta City Council Votes To Fund $90M Police Training Center
The city of Atlanta will soon be home to a $90 million, 85-acre police training center after a 16-hour council meeting resulted in passing of the legislation necessary to fund the project.
Though public outcry has been loud with dissenting voices who feel that the city’s resources can be used in more productive and, potentially less harmful ways, 11 council members voted in favor of what critics call “cop city” while only four voted against. The proposed training center has been a point of contention for conservationists, community activists, and residents alike as various mounting fears have come to light. Environmental advocates have raised concerns about the forest land that will be destroyed to make room for the sprawling campus, while social justice advocates fear that it will further militarize police forces in a city that is still predominately Black, according to CNN. Many Atlanta residents feel that there was no public input sought by city leaders, which was made clear by the droves of people who came out to make their voices heard during the council meeting.
There have already been clashes between police and residents at the proposed location.
In January, police fatally shot 26-year-old activist Esteban Paez Teran during a protest. Officials reported at the time that Teran fired at officers first; however, his family and fellow activists strongly disagreed with that narrative, according to The Washington Post. Ahead of Monday’s vote, the city closed many City Hall offices amid growing concerns about public safety following the approval of the facility. Still, some of Atlanta’s top leaders are optimistic about “cop city,” including Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, who called the funding approval a “major milestone.” “Atlanta will be a national model for police reform with the most progressive training and curriculum in the country,” Dickens said in a statement.