'Stop Cop City' activists continue push to stop public training center's construction

Protesters with the "Stop Cop City" movement are still pushing to stop the construction of Atlanta's controversial new public safety training center.

Activists with the group demonstrated outside of Atlanta City Hall on Monday.

The protesters say that Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens has broken promises related to the facility.

The group also called on the city to allow the future of the training center to be decided by voters, a fight that has been ongoing since last year.

Related stories:

Image 1 of 5


In 2023, activists collected more than 116,000 signatures in an effort to force a referendum on the site's construction. The city has since asked a court to throw out the referendum, arguing that a lower court ruling that allowed nonresidents to collect signatures was incorrect and that the documentation was not submitted by the original 60-day deadline.

Earlier this year, the city passed an ordinance to formalize verifying the signatures on the petition, though activists have called the city council's choice to do a signature match discriminatory, 

Debate around the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center  

Protests against the training center have been ongoing for more than two years. Over the weekend, activists held meetings, concerts, dinners, and direct action to rally support to block the project.

Dickens and other supporters say the 85-acre, $90 million facility would replace inadequate training facilities and would help address difficulties in hiring and retaining police officers. Opponents have expressed concern that it could lead to greater police militarization and that its construction in the South River Forest will worsen environmental damage in a poor, majority-Black area.

Protests against the project, which have at times resulted in violence and vandalism, escalated after the fatal shooting in January 2023 of Tortuguita. A special prosecutor in October 2023 said he would not pursue charges against the state troopers who shot Paez Terán, saying he found that their use of deadly force was "objectively reasonable."

In August 2023, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr indicted 61 protesters using the state's anti-racketeering law, characterizing them as "militant anarchists."

This year, protesters have vandalized construction vehicles and disrupted traffic near sites for companies connected with the project.

The city says the issues caused by protesters have raised the cost of the training center by about $20 million.

Meantime, construction is expected to be done in December.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.