You may have seen the sharing of calls to action in protest of Cop City in Atlanta. Below you will find information that explains our position, a website with information about the actions you can take, and a resource document with background information.
– Bookmark this website to keep up with current actions, sign up there for updates.
– We’ve compiled a list of resources in this document.
We say NO to Cop City!
The Indivisible Georgia Coalition and Indivisible GA 04 stand in solidarity with the #StopCopCity movement, which opposes the construction of the Public Safety Training Center, also known as Cop City. The construction of such a facility would not be in humanity’s best interests and we, along with many allies, are asking government officials to cease construction. On June 6, 2023, the Atlanta City Council Voted 11- 4 to approve at least $31 million for the Atlanta Police Foundation to build Cop City. We strongly denounce this action for several reasons.
1. Lack of Transparency
The Atlanta Police Foundation started planning Cop City as early as 2017, but the public did not know about it until 2021. Since that time, we learned that the original amount for the facility has more than doubled and it appears that city officials knew how much it would cost and did not tell Atlanta residents. We are concerned that they will spend possibly $90 million or more since it appears that the project is over budget. We are also concerned that when citizens have raised concerns, Cop City supporters have accused them of spreading misinformation and being “outside agitators.” Over the years, there have been changes to the training center plans, and some of the original plans are no longer available to the public. Why is the city of Atlanta not communicating effectively with its citizens? The entire community should have input on the facility instead of just a handful of individuals carefully selected to sit on an advisory committee. Have officials asked the citizens of Atlanta and DeKalb County what type of policing they need?
2. Troublesome history
The proposed training site of Cop City has a troublesome history. People of European descent stole this land from the Muscogee (Mvskoke) Creek Nation who called it Weelaunee Forest. Later, the state used the land to imprison Black laborers and forced them to work. We recognize these grave injustices and believe that it would be a disservice to all to construct Cop City on this land.
3. Environmental Damage
It is important to protect the Weelaunee Forest, also known as the South River Forest, because it protects us during this critical time of climate change. Razing even 85 acres of trees will be devastating and destroy a broad swath of forest that serves as one of the four “lungs of Atlanta.” Ecologists have expressed concern that this development could cause damage to wetlands and promote flooding. The environmental damage has already started with the destruction of some trees. We are also concerned that this will be another instance of environmental racism since the neighborhoods in DeKalb County around Cop City are predominately Black. Once again, African-Americans will be most affected by environmental damage.
The murder of forest defender Manuel “Tortugita” Terán is a grave injustice. The killing of protestors is an affront to Georgia and Atlanta as the cradle of the civil rights movement. Tortugita should still be alive. We are also concerned about potential violence against marginalized citizens, especially the disabled, African-Americans, and other Brown and Black people, who are often the victims of police violence.
The arrests of opponents of Cop City are designed to suppress free speech, restrict dissent, and stop the movement. As of June 2023, law enforcement officials have charged 42 forest defenders with domestic terrorism; they arrested many more for protesting, and recently arrested three members of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, a bail fundraising group. We want government officials to stop targeting #StopCopCity movement members and drop these meretricious charges.
6. Militarization of Police
We believe that Cop City will further the militarization of police, especially in communities of color. The people are not enemy combatants. We want Mayor Dickens to cancel the current lease with the Atlanta Police Foundation. The Atlanta city government can undo any deal that it has made regarding this facility.
We are not in opposition to a new training facility for police and emergency responders. However, we ask the city to reevaluate the purpose and design of this facility. Why must the city of Atlanta build this facility on land it promised to protect in 2017? Surely, there must be an alternative site somewhere in the entire metro Atlanta area. We believe that there is more effective utilization of Weelaunee Forest and taxpayer money. We also question the type of training that will take place at this facility. The community, our state, and our nation will not benefit from a training center that concentrates on urban warfare and trains police nationwide. We aim to prevent the police from treating citizens as hostile adversaries. We want the police to cooperate with our community instead of working against us. We want to feel safe in our communities, many citizens already fear the police, and Cop City will not make residents safer. The #StopCopCity Movement has united people of all races, genders, and faiths. We want to have a place to call home free from fear.