A planned protest billed by the Stop Cop City group outside the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, failed to garner support when only one protester showed up.
The protest was planned to take place outside the stadium, where the Atlanta Falcons played the Green Bay Packers, in opposition to a police and fire services training complex being built. Earlier this month more than 60 activists were indicted by a Georgia grand jury on a variety of charges after a protest against the facility turned violent.
Although the only person to have showed up for the protest, Jaye Crawford told local news outlet 11Alive was not discouraged by the turnout. “We know from this past week that 116,000 people in the city of Atlanta do not want Cop City,” Crawford said. “We are here today to encourage the ownership, and the players to stand on the right side.”
The protest was in support for a petition against the building of the complex, which gathered more than 116,000 signatures in support of a referendum on the issue. But city officials have claimed the counting process cannot start because the deadline of August 21 was missed.
The deadline had been previously extended until September by a federal judge, but an appellate court paused the enforcement of that order on September 1.
Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock has written to Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens regarding transparency around the project, asking for a response by September 25, according to 11Alive.
The unbuilt complex, officially known as the Atlanta Public Safety Center, has caused considerable ire in Atlanta. Supporters of the project, which is forecast to cost $90 million, have said the center will upgrade the capabilities of the police force.
On September 14, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said: “We are a large metropolitan city that hosts events that you do not see anywhere else in the state of Georgia. We have to have a police department that matches that reputation of those iconic events.
“So, my concern is that the mere suggestion that this isn’t needed and the suggestion that it’s going to be taken away from our officers that’s been promised. It’s going to impact morale and it’s going to impact how we patrol every neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia.”
But its critics believe the money would be better spent elsewhere and that it could result in a more militarized police force in an area where friction between law enforcement and minority communities is already high. They have branded the under-construction project as “Cop City.”
Stop Cop City has claimed the center will have “military-grade training facilities, a mock city to practice urban warfare, dozens of shooting ranges, and a Black Hawk helicopter landing pad.” They also point out that the land the project is being built on, Weelaunee Forest, is “a watershed surrounded by primarily Black residents who overwhelmingly oppose the project.”
Newsweek has contacted the Atlanta Police Department and Stop Cop City group for comment via email.
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