Submitted for publication to the Atlanta Community Press Collective
As national attention and pressure builds, the City of Atlanta, Dekalb County and Atlanta Police Foundation (APF) now claim to have reached a “compromise” between themselves on Cop City. There is no such compromise: this project is failed.
What trust can exist between Atlanta residents and Atlanta Police Foundation now? The APF is attempting to hastily push through a sequence of land disturbance permits which would allow contractors to clear 171 acres out of a total 381 acres of forest. If Dekalb County Planning & Sustainability signs off to approve, there will be nothing holding them to this “compromise”. Except for the movement, of course.
They are attempting an old trick. The city has lied about the Cop City acreage before. In August 2021, when Atlanta City Council delayed their vote on Cop City, the APF claimed a similar “compromise:” instead of clearing the 381 acres they are leased by the City of Atlanta, the APF would reduce the footprint of buildings and impermeable surfaces to only 85 acres, while more of the land would be cleared and turned into turf fields, shooting ranges, horse stables labeled “greenspace.” Nothing in the lease agreement was binding regarding this promise, and quickly the land disturbance permits shifted — nearly doubling to 171 acres. Like all other points of “compromise,” this has proved empty rhetoric to cover over the undemocratic railroading of this project on to un-represented, disenfranchised residents of Atlanta and Dekalb County. This is more backroom talk between powerful elites and their dark money contributors.
Now, the City, Dekalb County, the APF, the funders and builders of Cop City collectively have blood on their hands, and it seems they are willing to get bloodier: these are the people in power goose-stepping us to climate apocalypse. Police continue to kill at higher and higher rates. In 2022, more people in the US were killed than in any other year on record. The police and their corporate and political backers have used lies, misinformation, and distorted half-truths at every step of this process. Why should we believe a word they say?
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens cries crocodile tears on Twitter about Tyre Nichols’ brutal murder, whines about a broken bank window — all the while giving his quiet approval to the killing of Tortugita for his own police’s militarization facility. This is no surprise: the Memphis police chief is from Atlanta, and oversaw APD’s REDDOG unit when they killed Kathryn Johnston, a 92-year-old Black woman. In the immediate aftermath of Tortugita’s killing at the hands of GSP, Andre Dickens spat in the face of Atlantans by announcing he would direct city funds to subsidizing police housing, while everyday residents struggle with skyrocketing rents, evictions and housing displacement. Real estate developers and cops are prioritized for city handouts while the rest of us left to struggle for scraps.
Those who are responsible for this project have blood on their hands and guilt on their faces. It’s clear to the world who is responsible for climate change, and who protects them as they rake in record profits at our expense. Power concedes nothing without a demand. Ours is, “Cop city must never be built – not here, not anywhere. Not one blade of grass! Not one tree! Free the prisoners, drop the charges!”
– Cancel Cop City completely.
– Reverse the land theft of Intrenchment Creek Park.
– Drop the charges against all protesters. Turn over evidence to the family of the protester killed by police.
The fight continues. The movement to stop cop city is only growing. On February 19 – 26 we are calling for a Week of Solidarity to Stop Cop City, with protests throughout the US and around the world.