Tell City Council to Stop Cop City!

Atlanta City Council

On June 7th, 12th district City Council-member Joyce Sheperd introduced an ordinance to lease 381 acres of public land to the Atlanta Police Foundation (APF) for the purposes of constructing an $80.6 million police training facility — equipped with a shooting range, and space for weapons and explosions testing, and burning buildings tests. This plan not only ignores residents’ demands to reduce the scope and size of policing in Atlanta, but it also follows an undemocratic process, and underscores City Council's commitment to fulfilling the desires of private organizations over the needs of the people.

Under the current proposal, the facility would be constructed on a former prison farm, to which incarcerated Black laborers were sold into indentured servitude. Policing and imprisonment represent a continuation of the racist practices the state has used to criminalize, capture, and exploit Black people for free labor throughout history. Further, the APF’s training facility will be supported by the Atlanta Committee for Progress, a committee of over 40 corporate elite figures, including the CEOs of Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and Cox. This relationship underscores the ties between policing and capitalist interests, and the Mayor and City Council’s endorsement of this proposal exemplifies their alignment with corporate elites over the working-class people of Atlanta.

Finally, our coalition stands in direct opposition to the process through which Sheperd is granting APF access to city-owned land. The proposed ordinance not only waives a competitive bidding process over the land use, but it offers APF the land at a tremendously discounted price ($10) for the next fifty years. This proposal is undemocratic, as it eliminates any public discussion over alternate uses of the city’s property, and grants a private foundation more resources at a time when Atlantans are struggling to pay their rent and meet basic household needs.

After a year of uprisings in response to police violence in which Atlanta residents were brutally teargassed, tased, and shot with rubber bullets by APD officers, it is disgraceful that City Council intends to offer more physical space and resources with which APD can practice brutalizing residents. True safety in  Atlanta will not be attained via increased policing, militarization, and carceral punishment — and it will only be made worse by the construction of cop city!

Atlanta City Council must be held accountable to everyday working class people — not to corporations, developers, or pro-police PR machines like the Atlanta Police Foundation. The City has has responsibility to create the conditions for real safety by providing for people's basic needs — including food security, clean water, housing, public and mental health care, and education. True safety lies in community, and the ways in which we interact with our neighbors, uplift and center marginalized communities, and work together to solve conflict.

If you are a resident of the City of Atlanta or unincorporated Dekalb County who believes that City Council must put people over private corporations and vote NO on the construction of Cop City and the leasing of public land to the corporate-funded Atlanta Police Foundation, please sign your name and leave a comment. The people of Atlanta deserve to be safe and be heard!

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To: Atlanta City Council
From: [Your Name]

I am writing you as a voter and constituent in the City of Atlanta asking you to vote NO on the ordinance to lease 381 acres of public land to the corporate-funded Atlanta Police Foundation. A massive cop training facility has no place in our city or the surrounding area, and it certainly does not warrant the bulldozing of a historic forest.

Not only is this process very undemocratic, it underscores the ties that City Council has to the APF and its willingness to prioritize the needs of billionaires over everyday working Atlantans. During a time when people are struggling to put food on the table and pay rent, the last thing this city needs is more space and resources going towards brutalizing of Atlanta residents through militarized policing tactics.

I am asking you again to vote no on the leasing of this land, and the construction of a new cop training facility. Atlanta City Council should be investing in services which promote true safety like affordable housing, food accessibility and healthcare. Long term, policing will solve nothing and only cause more harm towards Atlanta's most marginalized communities.