Protesters arrested Thursday at future site of Atlanta Public Safety Training Center identified

The names of those arrested Thursday morning during a protest at the future site of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center have been released.

Five people reportedly chained themselves to equipment at the construction site for the controversial project and delivered what they called "The People's Stop Work Order," according to a press release.

The group consisted of two ministers and other people of faith, according to a representative of the group.

Police identified them as 28-year-old Lalita Martin, of Atlanta; 25-year-old Timothy Sullivan, of Burlington; Massachusetts; 25-year-old Ayeola Whitworth, of Atlanta, 61-year-old David Dunn, of Roswell, and 65-year-old Jeffrey Jones, of Smyrna. All have been charged with trespassing and obstruction. Martin faces an additional charge of reckless conduct.

Image 1 of 5

David Dunn (DeKalb County Jail)

Atlanta Police Department confirmed they arrested five people who trespassed onto the site and chained themselves to a piece of equipment. They are reportedly working with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation regarding charges against the protesters.

APD says about 25 people were gathered outside the site on Thursday morning, and they are aware that the protesters are actively requesting others to come to the site to show their support. Additional local, state and federal officers were requested to assist APD in their response to the protest and to help them ensure the 1st Amendment rights and safety of the protesters, according to APD. 

Sixty-one people connected to the movement to stop the building of the training center were indicted earlier this week on RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) and other charges.

The Atlanta City Council approved the training center in 2021, saying a state-of-the-art campus would replace substandard offerings and boost police morale, which is beset by hiring and retention struggles in the wake of violent nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice in the summer of 2020.

Activists nationwide have joined the protest movement, arguing that the 85-acre center would train officers to become more militarized and quell dissent, all while hundreds of trees are cut down, worsening flooding and climate change.


Background on the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, also known as ‘Cop City’

The city tasked the private Atlanta Police Foundation with building the complex, promising to pay $67 million over time. The remainder of the $90 million complex would come from private funds. Foundation work is ongoing, with the complex projected to be completed in 2024.

The "Stop Cop City" effort has gone on for more than two years, and at times veered into vandalism and violence. Opponents say they fear the Atlanta-area training center will lead to greater militarization of the police and that its construction will exacerbate environmental damage in a poor, majority-Black area.

Real trouble began in May 2022 when several protestors were arrested after reportedly throwing Molotov cocktails at police officers.

More protesters were arrested in December after they allegedly threw rocks at police cars and attacked EMTs at nearby fire stations.

On Jan. 18, Georgia State Patrol troopers shot Manuel "Tortugita" Teran while clearing an activist camp at the site of the future safety training center.

After his death, a protest turned violent, and a police car was set on fire and protesters broke windows at several businesses. Five people were arrested that night.

Twenty-three people were arrested and charged with domestic terrorism after a violent clash between police and protesters in March. 

Three people who helped organize protests were arrested in May and charged with money laundering and charity fraud. 

Another person was also arrested in June after protesters threw rotten meat outside an Atlanta bank.