Environmentalists and criminal-justice advocates in Atlanta have one major thing in common: They don't want "Cop City," a $90 million training facility for police and fire personnel that's under construction.
This week, 23 people were arrested after protests in a forest near the site of an 85-acre training center that was hurriedly put into motion without input from neighbors and nearby communities. Ironically, the site used to be a prison farm in the 1900s. Even though the location is outside Atlanta city limits, the city owns the land. The facility is set to include a shooting range, burn building, and a fake city mockup for training.
Critics of the plan say the new complex is going to be a place for local police forces to increasingly militarize its forces, which will only make for more instances of police brutality. Environmentalists say the city is violating past promises to protect green spaces around the South River. Protesters have taken to living in trees as part of a "Defend the Atlanta Forest" movement in order to try to halt construction.
The protests have only intensified since the January death of 26-year-old protester Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, who was killed on the site. Georgia's governor Brian Kemp wants to keep those protesters in jail and the mayor of Atlanta doesn't seem to be budging in support of "Cop City" even as the protests are gaining national attention.
If you really think about it, is there really any better encapsulation of America than tearing down protected forests to build some shit that will probably rival the Men In Black training grounds in the midst of continued cases of gun violence and police brutality? I think the hell not.
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