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What’s on the horizon for the Stop Cop City movement?

ACPC Staff Report

Three significant events are on the horizon for a multi-year protest movement against Atlanta’s planned police training center in Unincorporated DeKalb County as 61 individuals charged with racketeering and conspiracy will be arraigned Monday, organizers plan to hold the movement’s first Black led week of protests, and hundreds are expected to join in a mass demonstration Nov. 13 intended to shut down construction at the proposed training center site. 

RICO Defendants 

In August, a grand jury indicted 61 individuals alleged to be part of the Stop Cop City movement on racketeering-influenced and corrupt organization (RICO) charges, which went unannounced until the Atlanta Community Press Collective (ACPC) broke the story in a post to the X social media platform on Sept. 5. 

The sweeping 109-page indictment filed by Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr lists 225 acts alleged to be part of a vast conspiracy to prevent the construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, or “Cop City” as it is more commonly known. Some of the acts alleged to be part of the conspiracy include one individual signing his name as “ACAB,” an $11.91 reimbursement for the purchase of glue, and one defendant taking pictures of police. 

Of the 61 defendants, around a dozen have already turned themselves in to police in the days before the arraignment. Most of those individuals have been released. Several defendants made plans to turn themselves in weeks ago after the charges were announced, but it took nearly a month for arrest warrants to be processed in the case. Prosecutors and attorneys worked together to develop consent bonds for several of the defendants, however Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams, who is presiding over the Cop City RICO case, did not sign any of the consent bonds drafted prior to the arraignment. 

Those who have not turned themselves in prior to Monday’s arraignment face the possibility arrest at court and spending the night inside Fulton County jail. 

ACPC will be covering Monday’s arraignment live from the courthouse.

Tune in to ACPC’s YouTube page Monday at 7 p.m. for the premier of an exclusive series featuring some of the Cop City RICO defendants. 

Seventh Week of Action

Monday also kicks of the Stop Cop City movement’s seventh “Week of Action.” This is the first such week led by Black organizers. The first five Week of Action events were held in the Weelaunee Forest, where Cop City is proposed to be built. Both DeKalb County and Atlanta Police Department officers now patrol that area of land,  

 Typically, the weeks include demonstrations, rallies, and concerts. 

Almost every Week of Action has seen a high level of police response and arrests. On March 5, during the fifth Week of Action, Georgia State Patrol and other police agencies raided a music festival in the Weelaunee Forest a little less than a mile away from the Cop City site, where earlier that day a group of individuals destroyed construction equipment. Police arrested 23 individuals at the music festival, charging all of them with domestic terrorism. 

Jasmine Burnett and Kwame Olufemi of Community Movement Builders spoke to ACPC about the upcoming week of action. 

“Next week is going to be a really exciting week of action specifically targeted at Black folks in Atlanta,” Burnett explained. “Events will include everything from film screenings, art builds, panel conversations, marches and rallies.”

One unique addition to the upcoming week of action is an elders and family’s march on Friday, Nov. 10. “You know, there have been rallies, there have been marches [in past weeks],” Olufemi said, “but [this is] going to be centered specifically on Black families. Particularly on Black families who have been impacted by police violence.”

The time and location of that rally is still to be determined, but all the events can be found at the website. For more information about the upcoming week of action, see the Strike Black Stop Cop City Instagram page

Block Cop City

All the activity of the next week culminates into one massive protest on Nov. 13. Hundreds are expected to participate in a direct action intended to disrupt construction at the site of the proposed training center. 

For weeks, organizers have travelled the country, visiting some 80 cities, holding training and information sessions on the action they are calling “Block Cop City.”

Police have yet to make any comment regarding the protest, which organizers have consistently said will be a non-violent direct action (NVDA). There is a long history of NVDA actions in the City of Atlanta from the era of the Civil Rights Movement til today. Most recently, a group of five clergy members entered the proposed training center site and chained themselves to construction equipment, briefly shutting down construction for about an hour. Those five individuals were arrested and charged with criminal trespass. One received an additional charge of obstruction. 

The stakes of any actions that take place at the proposed training center site include serious the possibility of serious charges. Over the last year, dozens of activists have been charged with domestic terrorism and RICO charges. 

Little is known about how the direct action will take place. In the days leading up to the Block Cop City action, organizers will work together to hash out a final version of the plan.  

More information about Block Cop City can be found on the website set up for the action

ACPC will be on the ground covering the action as it unfolds. 

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