Opponents of Atlanta public safety training center march on City Hall

Opponents of the proposed Atlanta public safety training center are delivering more than 100,000 petition signatures to the city Monday as part of an effort to put a referendum on the ballot about the future of the facility.

If the 116,000 signatures are verified, 95.5 WSB’s Bill Caiaccio reports opponents hope a judge will stop construction until the issue is decided at the ballot box.

The effort is led by the Cop City Vote Coalition, whose members have been collecting signatures for almost three months.

The coalition’s march at City Hall comes days after the Georgia Attorney General’s Office announced an indictment charging more than 60 protesters with violating the state’s RICO act.

According to The Atlanta Journal Constitution, most of those indicted had previously been arrested in other protests and were charged with domestic terrorism.

Kamau Franklin, a community leader involved in the referendum effort, told The AJC that opponents believe Attorney General Chris Carr is doing this for his own political purposes. “I think it has no legal basis to stand and no factual basis to be anything close to RICO charges against a whole movement of people trying to exercise their First Amendment and constitutional rights to fight against Cop City,” Franklin added.

During a press conference announcing the indictments, The AJC’s Jozsef Papp reports Carr said his office is simply enforcing the laws of the state.

“As you can tell in this indictment, this is about violent acts plain and simple,” Carr said. “The individuals who have been charged, are charged with violent acts. We feel very good about our case and we will continue to prosecute it to the best of our ability.” Read more here.

Last Thursday, September 7, five protesters were arrested after chaining themselves to construction equipment at the Atlanta public training center in DeKalb County.

Nearly two dozen protesters also lined the site in unincorporated DeKalb County, The AJC’s Riley Bunch writes, in opposition to the 85-acre facility. “They chanted ‘Cop City will never be built’ as law enforcement officers amassed,” Bunch adds. “The crowd called the effort ‘the people’s injunction’ to halt construction.”

Protester organizer Mary Hooks tells The AJC the arrested individuals “were bold enough and courageous enough to issue the people’s injunction.”

Hooks adds, “If we cannot find justice in the courts, we will take it in the street.”

The Associated Press and The Atlanta Journal Constitution contributed to this story.

Nicole Bennett

Nicole Bennett

CMG Digital Content Producer

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