On Tuesday (June 6), the Atlanta City Council approved funding for the city’s controversial new police training center, which detractors have nicknamed “Cop City.”
According to reporting by the Associated Press, the Atlanta City Council voted 11-4, approving $31 million in funding for the sprawling 85-acre project, along with a lease that calls for the city of Atlanta to pay $36 million over the next thirty years to operate the facility.
The rest of the funding for the $90 million Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, which is expected to include a shooting range, a K-9 unit kennel, an “Operator Course for emergency vehicle driver training,” and a “mock village” for raid practice by officers, is expected to come from donations to the Atlanta Police Foundation.
The final vote followed approximately 14 hours of public comment, during which residents repeatedly voiced their opposition to the project.
Preliminary construction work has begun on the 85-acre project, which was initially approved by the city council in 2021.
The project was to take up a third of a 235-acre green space.
The training center attracted a wide variety of protesters, including those opposed to police brutality, in addition to environmentalists opposing the deforestation of the South River Forest.
In recent months clashes between protesters opposing the project and police have become more violent in recent months, leading to protestors launching Molotov cocktails and fireworks at officers.
In January, police shot and killed an environmental activist at a forest campsite, and dozens of people were charged with domestic terrorism, triggering concerns over first amendment violations.