“They are training for war. They’re going to be playing war games in cities. Those are the ingredients for more police tragedies than we can imagine.” – Angela Davis
The critical fight to Stop Cop City is a fight that anti-racists everywhere have a stake in. If built, Cop City would become the largest militarized police training facility in the U.S., training police from all over the country, including police from Israel. The plans developed by the Atlanta Police Foundation are for a $90 million dollar, 85-acre military-grade facility that would destroy the Weelaunee Forest and includes an entire mock city to practice crowd control and urban warfare, dozens of shooting ranges, a helicopter landing pad, and bars and restaurants. The area near the forest is home to one of the largest Black communities in the country, where residents have consistently been subjected to high levels of police violence and are overwhelmingly opposed to the project.
Plans for Cop City began as a response to the George Floyd Uprising; it has been a flashpoint of resistance since its inception. Leaders of the Muscogee people – on whose stolen land Cop City would be built – delivered an eviction notice to the Atlanta Regional Commission calling for an end to construction of the training facility. Atlanta’s Black community has been organizing to stop the project; among their demands: “No Cop City anywhere; reinvest the $90 million granted to build Cop City into the community living outside of the site; and finally, that land being leased to the Atlanta Police Foundation be given to the community as part of a “land back” initiative in partnership with the Muscogee people.
The people in Atlanta mobilizing against Cop City have faced some of the most intense repression in recent memory. In January of this year police descended on the forest encampment with guns blazing, shooting 26-year-old activist “Tortuguita” Terán 14 times as they sat cross-legged with both hands up. Law enforcement then lied, saying that Tortuguita shot at them first; the autopsy showed there was no residue from a fired gun on his hands.
Police and prosecutors are criminalizing dissent, trying to intimidate people by making the risk of protesting too costly. What are usually considered low-risk actions —peaceful daylight marches, music festivals, dropping banners – have become militarized police encounters. Judges are denying the bail of many arrestees, especially supporters who come from areas outside of Atlanta who are deemed “outside agitators.”
Georgia prosecutors have now charged 42 Stop Cop City protesters with domestic terrorism charges related to alleged offenses ranging from camping in tree houses to burning cop cars. These draconian charges carry a possible prison term of 35 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum of five years. We know that resistance is not terrorism, and these efforts to deter people from taking action cannot be allowed to stand.
The movement to Stop Cop City brings together impacted communities, abolitionists, environmentalists, and Indigenous people fighting for their land back. Solidarity actions targeting institutions and corporations responsible for the project have taken place in over 100 cities.This is a moment to fight for a shared future – without white supremacy and state violence, where we live in right relationship to the land and the people who have stewarded it for centuries.
Here are some ways to take action:
- Find the corporations and institutions near you that are responsible for the project and take action
- Support people subjected to state repression – demand the charges be dropped
- Donate to Atlanta Solidarity Fund
Learn more about the movement to Stop Cop City:
- Youth Organizers Are Uniting Marginalized Communities to Stop Atlanta’s Cop City – Truthout
- Stop Cop City: The Fight for a Forest and the Future of American Policing | The Indypendent
- Atlanta’s “Stop Cop City” Movement Is Spreading Despite Rampant State Repression – Truthout
- Stream Stop Cop City by Black Agenda Radio | Listen online for free on SoundCloud
For information about collectively resisting state repression: