Hundreds of Atlantans Oppose Cop City in Record-Breaking 7 Hour-Public Comment

Hundreds of Atlanta residents gathered at Atlanta City Hall on May 15th to speak against legislation that would authorize an additional $33.5 million in public funding for Cop City. Cop City, a proposed Atlanta Police Department training compound planned to be built in unincorporated Dekalb, has exceeded its original budget due to loss of private funders and increased expenses related to the widespread public opposition to the project. 

A total of 288 commenters signed up for public comment, and an estimated 100 additional individuals were not allowed to sign up despite waiting for hours in a signup line that wrapped around City Hall and outside the building. Additional community members held a rally against Cop City outside City Hall while public comment was heard inside. 
In 7.5 hours of public comment, every single commenter spoke in opposition to Coo City. Zero commenters spoke in favor of the proposed legislation. 
“Atlanta needs $33.5 million for community services, not Cop City. The council should direct public funds into access to healthcare, housing, sidewalks, and social and health services. These investments would create a much safer city. The reality is cops don’t prevent crime. What prevents crime is healthy, well-resourced communities.” says local resident Anna Thomas, who attended the rally outside the City Hall. 
Most people who spoke mentioned which neighborhood, district in Atlanta or unincorporated DeKalb County they live in. Commenters came from all over Atlanta and showed an incredible diversity of demographics and professions – while each provided their own personal reasons to Stop Cop City.
“I am here to emphasize that Atlanta does not want nor need Cop City” said Vic Kennedy among a massive echo of similar proclamations from other local residents. 
Jimmy Hill, father of Jimmy Atchinson who was killed 4 years ago, returned a May 1st, 2023 proclamation from the City Council, saying that “When I think of [Tortuguita], and I saw that [they] were on [their] knees, I think about my son, who received [contradictory commands] and was killed.” and issuing his support for all activists defending the Weelaunee Forest and stopping Cop City. 
“It was such an overwhelming display of people power from the Stop Cop City movement,” said organizer Steven Hall. “Hundreds and hundreds of local Atlanta residents showed up to speak against $33.5 million in public funds for Cop City. Whatever this council does, they cannot pretend that Atlanta will tolerate any support for Cop City.”
Although police intimidation came in the form of a staged SWAT vehicle and prisoner transport vans directly outside of City Hall, as well as police filming people and threatening to arrest people gathered outside the City Council hall, the people of Atlanta were undeterred from speaking their mind against Cop City. 
“We will continue to organize against any legislation to fund the Cop City compound and urge councilmembers to terminate the Cop City lease,” said Anna Thomas. “We will keep showing up at City Council meetings, we will keep organizing with our neighbors, we will keep fighting to stop cop city until the project is cancelled.”
The Council is expected to vote on legislation regarding the funding on June 5th

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