You might have heard about recent protests about a project in Atlanta, dubbed “Cop City” by those who oppose it. But what is it?
What is Cop City?
“Cop City” is a project to build a giant facility to help police practice urban warfare. According to The Guardian, the American Police Foundation (which is funding part of the project), says on its website that the project will contain “the necessary facilities required to effectively train 21st-century law enforcement agencies responsible for public safety in a major urban city.”
I'm not sure people know just how bad the "cop city" project in Atlanta would be. They want a whole mock city to practice police repression. pic.twitter.com/dWTPtO7VIb
— Read Jackson Rising by @CooperationJXN (@JoshuaPHilll) January 21, 2023
This would be one of the biggest police facilities in the USA. The reason why the project got the name “Cop City” from protestors is because the project is set to have, among other things, a “mock village”, which would contain a school, as well as homes. This is to help police officers practice urban warfare, to both practice responding to protests, and things such as school shootings. It would also include a firing range, as well as a burn tower for firefighters.
The project would expand already existing facilities by 85 acres, or the equivalent of 64 football fields. To accommodate for this, a big part of the Old Atlanta Prison Farm would be cut down. This is the reason why protestors have been occupying the forest by, amongst other things, building and living in treehouses in the trees.
To justify the destruction of the Old Atlanta Prison Farm forest, proponents of the project have described the wooded area as being “not a forest“. They also added that it would “boost the morale” of police officers.
Why is Cop City controversial?
Cop City is controversial for many reasons. First, because of the nature of the project. According to the “Stop Cop City” website, the project would, in total, take up 381 acres of land, and would use over 30 million dollars of taxpayer money.
Additionally, protestors advocate that building a facility to allow cops to be more effective in urban environments is going to increase police killings, especially during protests. In fact, a climate activist was killed, seemingly in cold blood. They shot him in the forest.
Officials have since said that the activist shot first, before officers returned fire. However, they did not release any evidence, including body cam footage, which would help substantiate their claims. In fact, those same officials said that the incident was not recorded by body cameras.
To top it off, in the past weeks, police officers have used violence when responding to protestors. Furthermore, protestors that have been arrested are facing charges of domestic terrorism, arson in the first degree, criminal damage in the second degree and interference with government property
Here is disturbing video of Atlanta cops targeting those protesting the police killing of climate activist Manuel Teran. These same police claim "self-defense" in the killing of Teran. Do you believe them? @defendATLforest https://t.co/RjaOyBoRGq
— Steven Donziger (@SDonziger) January 22, 2023