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Judge Denies Cop City Construction Injunction

Judge Thomas Cox of the Fulton County Superior Court ruled against a temporary restraining order, while ordering the Atlanta Police Foundation (APF) “immediately coordinate daily inspections of the property and pay for the same.”

On Thursday, each side was given 20-30 minutes to speak on a series of questions laid out by the judge. According to witnesses the courtroom was filled Thursday with an intimidating team of lawyers for the APF and around 30 police officers.

Schwartz filed the injunction in the Fulton County Superior Court Monday after previously filing an appeal on behalf of Community Stakeholder Advisory Committee member Taylor that, according to Schwartz’, stayed the power of AFP’s land disturbance permit at the Public Safety Training Center, more commonly known as Cop City, site. APF’s position hold that they are not bound to Residential Zoning Regulations since the proposed project is a government facility.

Taylor’s appeal, which South River Watershed Alliance joined this week, alleges that construction of the Cop City facility would violate both State and Federal environmental protection laws and that APF incorrectly overestimates the amount of greenspace available should the site finish construction. Speaking before the DeKalb County Board of Inspectors Thursday, Taylor called upon the commissioners to “encourage your ZBA appointees to permanently suspend the Atlanta Police Foundation’s LDP.” Ted Terry, DeKalb County Commissioner for District 6 in which the proposed facility sits, also filed a similar but separate appeal earlier this week.

In emails obtained by ACPC, last week APF CEO Dave Wilkinson informed the foundation’s lawyer, Simon Bloom, “we plan to continue full speed ahead unless the county issues a stop work order,” and according to neighborhood reports construction efforts continued as the week progressed.

DeKalb, however, declined to issue a stop work order.

Wednesday evening the DeKalb County Planning and Sustainability Department (DCPSD) released the findings of an inspection at the proposed Cop City site. According to the documents DCPSD submitted to ACPC, the issuance of the LDP earlier this month allows for “phase 1” construction processes, which include sedimentary control measures like silt fencing and “certain security measures, including… a widened parking pad, security lights, generators, and storage for supplies to support 24 hour patrols.” The inspector found that no work performed beyond this scope.

Terry called the report “parsing words,” saying, “the key point is ‘land disturbance’ is taking place. The LDP is being appealed, thus no disturbance should happen until the appeal is resolved.”

Images from the inspectors report show evidence of the 24 hour security patrols, an officer wearing tactical gear and carrying a rifle is visible apparently leading the inspector around the site. Atlantans from across the political spectrum expressed ire this week with the assignment of 30 Atlanta Police Department officers to guard the site each day. Buckhead Succession proponent Bill White said, “I understand the site needs to be protected, but we cannot be removing officers from Buckhead streets and other parts of Atlanta, so they can be security guards.” Councilmember Antonio Lewis pointed out APD is stationed at the site on the city’s dime and asked why APF receives different treatment than other non-profits, which are required to pay police engaged in site or event security from their own coffers.

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