Avon, Massachusetts – On Sunday, March 5th 2023, in observance of the Stop Cop City Week of Action, an unaffiliated group of forest friends gathered near an Atlas office building in Avon Massachusetts to demand that they drop their contracts and all support for the project.
Here is the forest friends’ statement:
The Weelaunee Forest in Atlanta is the proposed site of a massive police training facility, known to most as “Cop City.” Cop City is the logical outgrowth of violent, racialized capitalism in the United States. Corporations and wealthy Atlantans believe that they need a large and well-equipped police force to tamp down “crime” in the city they are working to gentrify, and have thus contributed financially to this project. As landlords and cops push Black residents out, wealthy, mostly white neighborhoods like Buckhead demand ever more police intervention to keep them and their ill-gotten wealth “safe.” With all their militarized training, equipment, and qualified immunity from prosecution, police murder thousands of people per year — disproportionately Black, Brown, and Indigenous. This facility will contribute to further militarization and deadly force for police departments across the country to utilize and train in. Although this is most urgently a movement to protect the forest in Atlanta, it is also a national movement to confront the violent system of policing.
A decentralized, autonomous movement has formed in 2021 to stop this project from going forward. There have been a wide diversity of tactics: from working inside of the city- and state-government, organizing petitions and letter writing campaigns, and calling upon investors and contractors to divest from Cop City — to more on-the-ground resistance such as encampments and gatherings in the forest itself. There have been a number of armed raids on those occupying the forest by local and state police, most recently culminating in the the murder of 26 year old indigenous medic and activist, Manuel “Tortugiita” Paez Teran (they-them) by Georgia State Patrol Officer(s).* As activists mourn the loss of Tortuguita, we continue to fight the murderous endeavor that is Cop City with all of the tools that we have. There is a role for everyone to take part in defending the Weelaunee forest, and that is why we here in Massachusetts have chosen to confront Atlas Technical Consultants (ATC) today. Atlas Technical Consultants (ATC) is an engineering consulting firm that is working with contractor Brasfield and Gorrie to build the Cop City project. ATC has over 100 offices in the US. Atlas Technical Consultants of Avon is one of three locations in Massachusetts.
ATC prides itself as being a corporation of diversity, inclusion, and sustainability. We believe that their involvement in the Cop City project blatantly contradicts these goals. In addition to the ecocidal implications of destroying a forest to build a fake city, this project has already resulted in the murder of a young indigenous person. We know that murder is the legacy of Cop City, and all who aid in its construction will only have blood on their hands. We ask ATLAS: how many more will die as a result of this atrocity? Are you and your staff ready to contend with the bloodshed you have, and will have, caused? We demand that you drop out of this racist, environmentally devastating contract and commit to the values you claim to hold.
Additional information and updates on Tortuguita:
February 6 statements and updates from their family:
Press release: Family Demands Access to Investigation After Private Autopsy Reveals Police Shot Environmental Activist Over 13 Times
Press Conference: Family of Tortuguita Demands ANSWERS Part 1 / Part 2
February 12 article in the Guardian: ‘Sadness in the whole forest’: family of Cop City activist killed by police seeks answers