Hundreds pour into City Hall, rallying against Atlanta safety training center

On Monday, hundreds of people poured into Atlanta City Hall showing their opposition to the development of the planned public safety training center.
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 6:23 PM EDT|Updated: May. 15, 2023 at 11:23 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Hundreds of people poured into Atlanta City Hall Monday showing their opposition to the development of the planned public safety training center.

Critics refer to the project as ‘Cop City.’

“The people of the city of Atlanta and DeKalb County have come out to say that we do not want Cop City,” said Keyanna Jones.

“And we’re urging this City Council to stop any further funding of this project,” said Jones.

People lined the City Hall atrium stairs and along hallways waiting to give public comment during Monday’s Council meeting.

“I think it clearly shows that the public has no interest in this project and that this is not something the city should be invested in,” said Decatur resident Linzie Taylor.

“The line was out the door before, and as it continued to go in, it just continued to get longer. It’s not of public interest it seems like, at least to me,” said Taylor.

Atlanta City Councilman Julian Bond is in favor of the public safety training facility and is one of the many council members who spent nearly 10 hours Monday listening to 288 people voice opposition to the site during public comment.

“I love seeing people be involved. But again, our obligation is to listen to the public but it’s also to provide the resources that the city needs for our employees,” Bond said.

City officials and Atlanta Police leadership have continually stressed that the facility is needed to help train and recruit police officers.

The resolution outlining how much taxpayers will have to spend to fund the project, and where in the budget that money will be allocated from was introduced shortly before midnight and moved to the finance committee.

When the project was initially approved in 2021, the Council agreed to commit $30 million of City funds. The Atlanta Police Foundation would be responsible for the remaining $60 million of the project.

This resolution would have to be approved by the finance committee and several other Council committees before it can return to the full council for an official vote.

That vote is anticipated to occur at a Council meeting June 5.

Site work on the project in DeKalb County began Feb. 6 according to the latest presentation at the Community Stakeholders Advisory Council.

This process includes the clearing of trees.

The soft opening of the site is projected for Dec. 20.