The Atlanta Public Safety Training Center | A timeline of violence, controversy
Continuing violence at the site of a future Atlanta police training facility is casting a controversial light on the proposed development.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Continuing violence at the site of a future Atlanta police training facility is continuing to cast a controversial light on the proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Center.
The 85-acre property is owned by the city of Atlanta but located in DeKalb County’s south river forest, once home to the old Atlanta prison farm.
Here is a timeline of recent events near the property as well as a look at how we got here:
2015: The Atlanta Police Foundation is tasked into looking into what a training center would look like and what it would cost.
April 2021: Then-Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced a plan to turn the forested land into a public safety training facility that would include a shooting range, a mock village and a burn center. Opposition arises from environmental groups, neighborhood associations and racial justice groups.
September 2021: Despite public outcry, the Atlanta city council gave the $90-million project a green light in September 2021.
January 2022: Activists and organizers who had dubbed the project “Cop City” begin protesting at the site, with some even building shelters in trees to prevent the construction.
December 2022: Five more people were arrested, this time on domestic terrorism charges, after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said protesters threw rocks at police cars and threw rocks and bottles at emergency services personnel outside neighboring fire stations.
Jan. 18, 2023: A Georgia State Patrol trooper is shot on the site. Law enforcement officials said they were conducting a clearing operation near the site of the proposed center when someone opened fire on the officers and troopers. The shooter was then shot by law enforcement and was pronounced dead at the scene. The trooper, who was shot in the abdomen, is taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. He survives the shooting.
- Trooper hospitalized, one person dead after shooting at future site of police training facility
- Out of state activists fueling Cop City protests, KSU prof says
- Hundreds honor activist who died in shootout at future site of training center
- What’s next for ‘Stop Cop City’ movement after weekend vandalism
Feb. 17, 2023: The building of the facility is allowed to continue after a Fulton County Superior Court judge denies a temporary restraining order.
March 5, 2023: Officials said around 5:30 p.m. Sunday, a group of violent agitators destroyed multiple pieces of construction equipment by fire and vandalism.
March 7, 2023: Twenty-three people charged with domestic terrorism in connection with the incident appear in court for the first time.
April 19, 2023: Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens remains stern in his commitment to developing the facility
“Every part of this project has been scrutinized and has been found to be fully compliant with the law and all environmental protection requirements, so we are moving forward,” the mayor said.
April 20, 2023: Habersham County district attorney takes over ‘Cop City’ shooting investigation
Habersham County District Attorney George Christian has been tasked with determining if any of the officers involved in the Jan. 18 shooting will face criminal charges.
June 7, 2023: Activists unveil plan to stop ‘Cop City’ at the ballot box
Activists announced their efforts that would force a referendum to let Atlanta voters decide whether or not the construction of Cop City should proceed.
June 15, 2023: Fulton County pursuing new police training center amid ‘Cop City’ controversy
Fulton County’s new public safety training center will help train personnel from the Fulton County Police Department, Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, Marshal’s Office, MARTA, Georgia State University, and some federal agencies.
The biggest differences between Fulton County’s new site and Atlanta’s training site are that Fulton’s is already paid for and it’s significantly smaller in size.
June 20, 2023: ‘Cop City’ critics file lawsuit claiming City of Atlanta stalling ballot referendum petition
In the lawsuit, critics claimed the City of Atlanta is “illegally stonewalling” the process of adding a referendum to an upcoming ballot.
July 27, 2023: Opponents of ‘Cop City’ can collect votes, federal judge rules
U.S. District Court Judge Mark Howard Cohen ruled in favor of DeKalb County residents who are seeking to collect signatures for a ballot referendum.
Stop Cop City Vote Coalition said the ruling allows them and others living outside of Metro Atlanta to start collecting signatures for a referendum petition on a November ballot.
Aug. 18, 2023: Training center opponents say 100,000 signatures were collected
Opponents of Atlanta’s planned public safety training center said more than 100,000 signatures were collected to have Atlanta voters decide the fate of the controversial project.
Sept. 11, 2023: City of Atlanta says petition signatures on public safety training center turned in past original deadline
When opponents of the training center turned in petition signatures, the city said they were turned in past the original deadline. The signatures were then locked away in a “secure location” pending further rulings from the 11th Circuit Court.
- City: Petition signatures on future Atlanta public safety training center turned in past original deadline
Sept. 30, 2023: Activists outraged after City of Atlanta releases largely unredacted ‘Cop City’ referendum signatures
After more than 116,000 people signed a petition to put the future of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center on the ballot, the city posted the signatures on its website. But most of the signee information — including names, addresses and phone numbers — was unredacted.
Oct. 6, 2023: Fatal shooting of protester at site of Atlanta Public Safety Training Center justified
The special prosecutor investigating the fatal shooting of Manuel Paez Teran at the future site of the training center determined the lethal force used by GSP troopers was justified.
MORE COVERAGE FROM ATLANTA NEWS FIRST
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- 30 officers ‘permanently’ set to guard Atlanta police training facility
- Outside protesters help local protesters fight against police training center
- Atlanta police, fire chiefs give presentation to Atlanta City Council
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