ATLANTA - One person was arrested Wednesday after a protest outside an Atlanta bank which demonstrators say loaned money to the Atlanta Police Foundation.
It happened on West Peachtree Street near 17th Street. It’s the latest development in the long and bitter battle over a controversial $90-million Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, which critics call "Cop City." Protesters say police are trying to intimidate them. Police say protesters got out of hand.
Protesters shared video of their demonstration Wednesday morning outside Cadence Bank in Midtown. They say the bank loaned money to the Atlanta Police Foundation to help build the public safety training center.
Demonstrators left the property, but they say Atlanta police followed them.
"They literally grabbed one of the protesters and slammed them onto the ground and zip-tied them on the cement sidewalk," said Oren Panovka, who helped organize the demonstration.
Video from protesters shows police handcuffing a person face down on the ground. Demonstrators say police detained two protesters and arrested another. Police say officers arrested 27-year-old Aidan Wood from Lansing, Michigan, who was charged with obstruction and simple assault.
Panovka says he witnessed police manhandling ralliers. "I did see them grab and be rough with one protester," Panovka said. "I was scared."
Police say several protesters threw rotting meat at them. APD would not speak with FOX 5 on camera. They sent a statement reading some demonstrators "picked up the spoiled meat and threw it in the direction of police."
A protester was arrested after throwing meat at police officers during a demonstration over the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center on June 28, 2023. (Supplied)
Panovka says police are trying to intimidate protesters. "They were trying to scare us. They were trying to put fear into protesters," Panovka said.
Protesters plan more rallies throughout the week.
In preparation, the Atlanta Police posted a notice on their Facebook page reading:
"The Atlanta Police Department respects, supports, and upholds the First Amendment rights of all citizens and those in Atlanta to assemble, speak, and engage in peaceful protest. At the same time, we must ensure compliance with our city ordinances and a safe public environment for all residents and visitors.
"This week, various groups have launched a ‘Week of Action,’ consisting of seven days of events, marches, and discussions. The first event was held Saturday in Brownwood Park in East Atlanta.
"We welcome the care and concern of the organizers for our city and their efforts to open dialogue and raise community awareness about the center. We respectfully ask all who engage in ‘Week of Action’ events to abide by the same city regulations for a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere for all persons wishing to enjoy the city’s greenspaces and public areas this week.
"As a reminder, City of Atlanta parks are open daily from 6 a.m. – 11 p.m. All gatherings over 75 people require a permit. Events or gatherings with alcohol and vending require a permit from the Mayor’s Office of Special Events. We also want to note that smoking, drugs, and illegal substances are strictly prohibited in the City of Atlanta parks. For the safety of park visitors, please abide by the above-mentioned and all city ordinances and note it is illegal to deface or destroy public property."