More than 350 arrive to speak during the Atlanta City Council meeting where funding for “Cop City” was a topic up for vote. (AP Photo/R.J. Rico)

By Roz Edward,
Atlanta Daily World

After a nearly 14.5-hour long session against a backdrop of hundreds of protestors, Atlanta City Council members voted 11- 4  to fund the highly controversial “Cop City” in Atlanta.

Opponents of the training facility say they are concerned that the state of the art police training facility will militarize police and result in more police brutality and police slayings of Black and Brown residents. Other detractors of the project say the true costs of the training facility will likely double, in terms of construction costs and human tragedy. 

Hundreds of Atlanta residents gathered at Atlanta City Hall to speak against legislation that would authorize an additional $33.5 million in public funding for the proposed Atlanta Police Department training compound, which will be built in unincorporated Dekalb County. The project has reportedly exceeded its original budget due to loss of private funders and increased expenses related to the widespread public opposition to the project.

The last mobilization, on May 15, broke previous City Council records for the longest in-person public comment at any Atlanta City Council with a comment session that lasted for seven hours.

The proposed building site is also the site where a young protestor was shot and killed by a Georgia State Trooper. Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, also known as “Tortuguita,” was a Venezuelan environmental activist and eco-anarchist who was shot and killed by a Georgia State Patrol trooper after an officer was wounded in the leg during a raid of the Stop Cop City encampment on January 18, 2023. However on April 20, 2023 a Dekalb County medical examiner revealed that Teran was shot 57 times with wounds in the head, torso, hands and legs.  

Jimmy Hill, father of Jimmy Atchinson, who was shot and killed four years ago by Atlanta police officer Sung Kim, said in an earlier interview that killing of the young protestor reminds him of his own personal police-related tragedy. Atchison was unarmed when he was shot in the face after a foot chase with Kim.

“When I think of [Tortuguita]…I think about my son, who received [contradictory commands] and was killed.” 

Cop City developers expect to break ground possibly as early as August of this year.

This article was originally published by the Atlanta Daily World.