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Forest Defenders Vow Resistance After Court Green-Lights Phase I of “Cop City”

By Candice Bernd - Truthout, February 22, 2023

A judge denied a restraining order against initial construction of the $90 million militarized police training complex.

The Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia, issued an order last week denying three plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order to halt clearing and construction work at the forested site of a planned police training facility that activists in Atlanta have dubbed “Cop City.” The ruling paves the way for construction activity even as the DeKalb County Zoning Board of Appeals considers the merits of the plaintiffs’ legal appeal of the project’s land disturbance permit.

The 85-acre, $90 million police militarization and training complex is being spearheaded by the Atlanta Police Foundation. If built, the compound would be one of the largest police training facilities in the country. The site would contain several shooting ranges, a helicopter landing base, an area for explosives training, police-horse stables and an entire mock city for officers to engage in role-playing activities.

In September 2021, the Atlanta City Council approved the project despite nearly 17 hours of comments from more than 1,100 constituents across the city, 70 percent of whom expressed firm opposition. Black working-class communities who actually live in the proposed area of unincorporated DeKalb County, and therefore aren’t represented in Atlanta’s City Council, also vocally oppose the project.

Judge Thomas Cox sided with the Atlanta Police Foundation’s argument that, “Property owned by a governmental entity for governmental purposes is exempt from local zoning ordinances.” Judge Cox, however, ordered the Foundation to “immediately coordinate daily inspections of the property and pay for the same.”

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