Earlier this month, the South River Watershed Alliance (SRWA) filed a civil rights complaint against the city of Atlanta, saying the rapid construction of a police training facility, locally known as Cop City, has caused environmental destruction to the surrounding community. The SRWA filed the complaint with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and says the project’s location constitutes environmental racism. The facility’s construction is planned for a predominantly Black residential area, despite the investors and organizers of the project hailing from mostly white residential areas, and a proposed 43% of police trainees at the facility are expected to come from outside of the state of Georgia.
The spoken word poem “There are Flowers Blooming in Antarctica,” shared on TikTok by user Madii.sky.blu, speaks of the modern-day man-made horrors that confront us. It highlights the contradictions of witnessing flowers bloom in Antarctica—a reminder of climate change and impending collapse—amidst governmental apathy along with grim reality of observing genocide in Palestine. The resonating words “there are flowers blooming in Antarctica” echo Palestine’s struggle for liberation, a battle not confined geographically, reverberates globally, its ripples reaching the verdant forests of Atlanta, Georgia.
Atlanta, GA – On the afternoon of November 11, about 200 community members gathered outside of the Atlanta city hall to demand an end to the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program and an end to the construction of the $90 million police training facility known as Cop City. According to Georgia State University, GILEE is, “a joint project of Georgia State University and local, state, federal, and international law enforcement, and public safety agencies. GILEE’s mission is to enhance law enforcement executive development and international cooperation.” In reality this program allows for the exchange of tactics and weapons between racist police forces in Georgia who occupy and violently attack Black communities and the terrorist Israeli occupation forces who are carrying out a genocide upon the Palestinian people.
The Black Alliance for Peace Baltimore Citywide Alliance strongly opposes the proposal for a new $330 million joint training facility for Baltimore’s police and fire departments on West Baltimore’s Coppin State University campus. The contradictions of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) fostering growing relationships with the state are sharpened with this proposal on a campus with access to the Department of Defense 1033 program budgets, which transfers military equipment to civilian law enforcement agencies. Any potential existence of a joint training facility for a police department currently under a consent decree, that names violations of civil liberties, not only serves to create and sustain tensions negatively impacting the overall campus climate but the surrounding predominantly Black, working-class communities of West Baltimore.
National Lawyers Guild Atlanta, NLG International Committee and NLG National hosted a discussion on Monday, September 25: “Understanding the RICO Indictments Against Stop Cop City Activists.” Panelists and moderators were Stanley Cohen, Devin Franklin, Mo Meltzer-Cohen, Don Samuel and Azadeh Shahshahani, and the webinar was hosted by Suzanne Adely, Susi Durán and Sarina Larson.
Prophet and GOAT status holder, James Baldwin, wrote in his opus, No Name in the Street, “Muhammad Ali, formerly Cassius Clay, is a vivid example of what can happen to a Black man who obeys the American injunction, be true to your faith, but his press has been so misleading that he is also an unwieldy and intimidating example.” Brother Jimmy continues, “Muhammad Ali is one of the best of the ‘bad niggers’ and has been publicly hanged like one…” Without knowing it (or maybe he did, he was, afterall, a prophet), Baldwin adroitly portrayed the baleful conditions associated with being a profound, unapologetic (as it was written by the dear and brilliant sister Charlene Caruthers) , and non-tone policed Black person in the United Statesian climate/environmental “movement,” and the nonprofit industrial complex writ large.
The Vote to Stop Cop City Coalition in Atlanta submitted more than 116,000 signatures on Monday to put a referendum about the embattled police training complex on the ballot for local voters, but city officials quickly refused to validate the signatures and move the petition along due to an ongoing legal fight over the signature-gathering process. Stop Cop City activists accused Atlanta officials of once again subverting democracy after moving forward with the construction of the 85-acre, $90 million police training complex, despite months of fierce protest and loud community opposition to a facility that activists say would further militarize Atlanta cops.
Enrique Tarrio , the former leader of the Proud Boys, was sentenced on September 5, 2023, to 22 years in prison. He was convicted in May on seditious conspiracy and other charges for the central role he played in organizing Trump followers to attack the Capitol on January 6, 2021, while Congress was certifying the electoral results of the 2020 presidential election. Until now, the longest prison term connected to the January 6 events had been 18 years. That sentence was issued to co-defendant Ethan Nordean. Three other men in the case — Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Dominic Pezzola — were each sentenced to between 10 and 17 years in prison.
For the past two years, calls to “stop Cop City” and “defend the Atlanta forest” have shaken the political and corporate establishment of Georgia’s state capital. Although Atlanta City Council has approved a lease and funding for a massive Public Safety Training Center in the city’s Weelaunee Forest, the sustained, popular #StopCopCity movement has effectively halted its construction. In response, local and state government have used a variety of tactics to move things forward — including police raids (which led to the killing of protester Manuel “Tortuguita” Terán), domestic terrorism charges against activists and a highly-controversial “signature verification process” that could undermine a proposed referendum.
Cop cars on fire. Occupations of the Weelaunee Forest. Weeks of action. Volunteers with clipboards, collecting referendum petition signatures in the summer heat. Weekly canvassing. Town halls and open mic sessions. Direct action and civil disobedience. Record-breaking numbers of people showing up for public comment (on three separate occasions!). Regular food distributions and mutual aid. Surveillance cameras smashed. Music festivals in the forest. Comrade care clinics. Protests outside the homes of politicians and CEOs. Trivia night fundraisers at local restaurants. Shareholder divestment campaigns. Wheatpasting, movement art, and diss track competitions.
Thursday morning a group of Cop City activists invoked a “people’s stop work order” and chained themselves to equipment at the construction site for the proposed Atlanta Safety Public Training Center, more commonly known as Cop City. “This is a war happening against protesters,” Ayeola Omolara Kaplan, one of the five activists arrested, said via written statement. “If we don’t stand up for our right to protest now, standing up in the future will be vain. Cop City is in the process of being built, and this can only continue if we allow it.” Kaplan, a self-described Atlanta based revolutionary artist, was joined by Jeff Jones...
The National Lawyers Guild condemns in the strongest terms the state of Georgia’s indictments, announced today, Tuesday, September 5, against 61 people targeted for allegedly being part of the movement to #StopCopCity. These indictments, filed by Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, aim to quell the growing, massive public movement to bring an end to the construction of a military police training facility in the Atlanta Forest, and to use RICO, domestic terrorism and money laundering charges to portray a popular movement as an unlawful conspiracy. “The National Lawyers Guild strongly condemns the state of Georgia’s organized effort to silence, criminalize, and punish movements for justice,” says NLG President Suzanne Adely.
More than five dozen activists were indicted on RICO charges last week over the ongoing efforts to halt construction of the city of Atlanta’s planned public safety training center in DeKalb County. The sweeping indictment, handed up last Tuesday in Fulton County, is being prosecuted by the Georgia Attorney General’s Office. A total of 61 protestors have been charged with violating the state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations act. Some face additional charges of domestic terrorism and money laundering. Most are not from Georgia.
In recent weeks, New Yorkers have been perplexed by Atlanta Police Department (APD) hiring advertisements plastered throughout the MTA announcing recruiting events in New York City. On Saturday afternoon, one of those events took place at the New York Hilton Midtown. A group of around 100 protestors chanting “From ATL to NYC, stop Cop City!” gathered on the sidewalk outside the hotel in opposition to the interstate recruitment. The demonstration drew a wide variety of participants.
Atlanta, Georgia - On Monday, the Stop Cop City Coalition announced it had collected 104,000 signatures on a referendum petition that would allow Atlanta voters to decide whether to overturn the 2021 lease of 381 acres of city-owned land in the South River Forest to the Atlanta Police Foundation for the construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, but it will not turn in those signatures yet, citing an argument by the city that will increase the minimum number of signatures required for the petition to be successful and concerns that city officials plan to use what the coalition says is a voter suppression technique when validating petition signatures.