Resistance to Cop City in Atlanta (ATL) has ramped up once again, this time after ATL police raided a house of ATL Solidarity Fund activists providing direct legal support to arrested protestors last week. Yesterday, on June 5, 2023, the ATL front of a growing movement to Stop Cop City mobilized to ATL City Hall to pressure City Council to deny funding for the project, set forth initially through a proposal from Joyce Shepherd who has since been voted out of City Council and replaced by Antonio Lewis. The funding proposal up for decision yesterday grants $67 million of ATL’s city funds for the estimated $90 million needed for the 350-acre police militarization and urban warfare training facility.
Critical Resistance (CR) has joined the fight by supporting organizers on the ground in ATL including Community Movement Builders, Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative (SNAPCo), and a broad base of Stop Cop City protestors and activists defending the Weelaunee Forest for the last several months. CR has ignited power into the fight by sharing insight & tips from previous CR campaigns and coalition fights, like the victory to defund to Urban Shield in 2018, which was previously the largest SWAT training & weapons expo in the world. CR members have also worked to circulate fundraising calls for local bail funds and legal defense with ATL Solidarity Fund and National Lawyers Guild, and speak on webinars & events nationally and in other states & cities outside of Georgia about why Cop City must be stopped, in defense of Black, Brown and poor communities targeted by policing everywhere.
At the June 5 mobilization to City Council, which lasted 15 hours and continued into the early hours of the morning the next day, CR’s Rehana Lerandeau delivered public comment asserting the impossibility that ATL or any city can effectively train police through Cop City or any other initiative to somehow become less destructive or oppressive— as policing is inherently violent, working exactly as it’s designed to, to protect white supremacy, racial capitalism, and inequality. Moreover, Rehana explains that since the inception of modern policing dating back to feudal Europe in the 1100s, the fact remains that our communities—when collectively self-determined and well-resourced— keep us safe, not policing.
Despite the clear demands from residents of Atlanta, and overwhelming support across the US and abroad, after another historic turnout for public comment – and years of demands to Stop Cop City – early this morning at 5:30am EST on Tuesday June 6 the Atlanta City Council voted against the wisdom and will of the people, approving the proposal to fund Cop City using tax payer dollars. Votes opposing the proposal were cast by Keisha Waites, Liliana Bakhtiari, Jason Dozier, and Antonio Lewis (who was moved over the course of comment). The ordinance passed with 11 council members voting in favor. Prior to the final vote, Councilman Wan motioned to send the legislation back to committee. Bahktiari seconded, but the motion failed. 98% of public comment was against Cop City.
This vote will not stop the momentum of people power to stop Cop City. CR has delivered a statement of solidarity with the Stop Cop City movement, uplifting the following demands:
- The city of Atlanta drops all charges against Cop City protestors and cease all proceedings against all people closely or loosely affiliated with the Stop Cop City movement.
- The city of Atlanta immediately releases people who are detained in relation to Stop Cop City efforts.
- The city of Atlanta expunges all arrest records related to resisting Cop City.
- And that the City of Atlanta stands with the overwhelming majority of ATL residents— roughly 98% of whom are in strong opposition to the proposal to build the facility known as Cop City, denying any and all funding for this facility that is designed to train police to terrorize our communities around the world.
As campaigns like the Stop Urban Shield coalition effort have shown us, police training facilities like Cop City work to expand the violence of policing on international scales. The fight to stop Cop City is not only a concern of Atlanta, but a concern of all of our communities, particularly our communities that are majority Black, Brown, and poor or working class. Since the largest wave of protest against police swept the globe in 2020, at CR, we know the proposal to build Cop City right now at this time is the prison industrial complex’s clear move to gain more ground, go back on the offensive terrorizing our communities and movements, and to suppress more abolitionist resistance. Critical Resistance urges all of our supporters and comrades–new and old, near and far–to join the fight until it is won: Cop City will not and must not be built.
Look out for more details on an upcoming week of action to Stop Cop City, June 24-July 1.
Onward, for a world without policing –