Color Of Change: Atlanta City Council Approval Of “Cop City” Project Reveals Dangerous Policy Influence Of Atlanta P.D., Police Foundation
Scott Roberts, Senior Director of Criminal Justice and Democracy Campaigns at Color Of Change, issued this statement after the Atlanta City Council approved a proposal to build a massive police training facility on protected land:
“Today’s city council vote approving the heinous ‘Cop City’ project has effectively surrendered the keys to the city to the Atlanta Police Department. Despite fierce opposition from thousands of community members, astronomical costs, and the glaring risks to public safety, the Atlanta City Council is allowing a massive, $90 million police training facility to be built on one of Atlanta’s last remaining green spaces. Clearcutting these wetlands will have devastating effects on Atlanta’s environment, including worsened air quality and flooding in the predominantly Black neighborhoods in Southeast Atlanta. There is no doubt that this facility, which is being peddled by the Atlanta Police Foundation, will allow the Atlanta P.D. to test militarized tools and heavy-handed enforcement tactics that exacerbate police violence — particularly in Black communities. This isn’t just bad policy; it’s a threat to Black lives.
“Funding police training facilities like ‘Cop City’ is just one of the many ways that police foundations support and organize police-led projects that terrorize Black people. In Georgia, where the state’s Bureau of Investigation has already opened more than 60 police violence investigations this year, this 381-acre facility will serve as a training ground for even more aggressive policing tactics used to target Black communities. And in other parts of the nation, like New York City, Houston, St. Louis, and Los Angeles, corporate-funded police foundations have contributed millions to local police departments for military-grade weapons, surveillance technology, and other tools for police with no public oversight or accountability. What police foundations fail to understand is that heavy-handed policing does nothing to keep our communities safe.
“The Atlanta City Council will ultimately need to answer to constituents for this outrageous decision. But the Atlanta Police Foundation, other police foundations nationwide and their corporate backers must also be held accountable for ignoring community demands and pushing dangerous proposals like Cop City, out of public view and without community input. We call on the Atlanta Police Foundation and other police foundations nationwide to disclose their donors and contributions to local police departments and on corporations to end their support of police foundations that are an unchecked threat to Black lives.”