ATLANTA — When construction crews rolled into a Last month saw the planting of maple and pine trees at southeast Atlanta. the scene had more in It is common with a Military incursions beyond a municipal building project in the suburbs. Officers of the police in As construction workers cleared their sites, armored trucks helped to escort them. a Installed anti-erosion fences and pathway for heavy equipment
For 18 months, this parcel of woodland — once a Prison farm for low-level convicts. Now mostly reclaimed the surrounding forest — has galvanized both environmental advocates who want to preserve one of the region’s largest remaining woodlands and activists concerned about the Increased militarization of police forces and more aggressive tactics
Mounting demonstrations culminated in scattered violence in January in What the police described as a Shootout to the left a protester dead, a state trooper seriously wounded and Georgia’s governor authorizing the National Guard will intervene. Officials are concerned that protest organizers will call for more demonstrations this weekend. the The possibility of conflict is real
This sparked tension a Plan, approved by the Atlanta City Council in 2021: To construct a massive training center the city’s Police and Fire Departments on property owned by Atlanta in DeKalb County. Blueprints for the This 85-acre property includes classrooms, an amphitheater and a playground. a Driving Course a Shooting range, pastureland and land for police horses. This is what supporters call it. a “mock city for real-world training” This includes apartments. a Nightclub a A convenience store
Opponents deride it as “Cop City.”
Police violence has been the subject of protests a Big-city living is a hallmark in the near decade since the Michael Brown shot in Ferguson, Mo. the Eric Garner’s chokehold Death a Staten Island’s sidewalk was galvanized a movement. After these demonstrations, they have more often burst into flames. a Police kill a Black man the Release of video such as in the Tyre Nicks was fatally beat in January led to the arrest of five Memphis officers for murder.
What are the current developments? in Some experts believe that Atlanta is different. a Movement squarely facing the Police question their training and ask cities how they can support law enforcement. This has become more difficult as military-inspired tactics are used by police officers and the public is aware of incidents such as the Nichols’ beating appears to be an example of officers turning routine interactions into fatal violence.
“Very rarely do you see the flash point be about training,” said Arthur Rizer, a Ex-police officer in Washington State a Scholar of Policing. As many others, the He thinks that protesters and critics are equally important Atlanta’s plan for the The training center is a recipe for increased police militarization — a After the recession, trend has been accelerating the With the Sept. 11 Attacks the Infusion of excess military equipment and funds for training and anti-terrorism activities.
“I do share the concern of the citizens of Atlanta,” According to Mr. Rizer, “that the apparent focus is going to be a paramilitary-type training, urban assault tactics, which quite frankly have not been effective at reducing crime.”
Atlanta officials state that Atlanta’s government has done this for over a decade. the The police academy was formerly housed in old school buildings. a College, and you have the need a Modern facilities Furthermore the Fire Department long wanted to show rookies how fire engines work. a Instead of walking on the streets at night, train along a track.
Bryan Thomas, a For more information, contact the spokesperson Atlanta’s mayor, Andre Dickens, said the center — approved under Mr. Dickens’s predecessor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, who joined the Biden administration after deciding not to run for re-election — was designed to help officers train for situations that have become increasingly common in Modern America is full of mass shootings, convenience store robberies, and other crimes.
“We need to make sure officers are prepared for real-life scenarios, like if you have a shooting in a nightclub or a gas station,” He said. “And that’s where this facility comes in.”
Others cities have large training facilities for police officers, such as New York, where Rodman’s Neck — part of a The peninsula sticks out from the Bronx into Long Island Sound — is used for firearms training, much to the City Island residents are annoyed by the fact that they hear these things. the Gunfire barrages are a regular occurrence a source of stress.
Atlanta has been drawn. a Broad “Stop Cop City” coalition that includes antifa activists, criminal justice reformers and environmental advocates. They both want to resist what they refer to as the Further militarization and preservation of police force the Nearly 400 acres of forested land a Black neighborhoods are more prevalent in Gresham Park is located in DeKalb County.
“Environmental racism and police violence go hand in hand,” Kate Morales has been a key organizer the Future “week of action” All set to commence on Saturday a Music festival and comedy show in the Woods and guided tours of the forest. The organizers encourage protestors to camp. “get to know the forest.”
The tension increased over the months as there were more protests. in January — activists have thrown Molotov cocktails and destroyed construction equipment, the police say — an attempt by officials to clear out the forest ended in What the Officials described it as an exchange between gunfire. A protester, Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, 26, was killed, and a State trooper is seriously injured
Some protesters calling themselves “protesters” were active before January “forest defenders,” Thus, I resorted to sleep in Tree houses made from crude materials in Land designated for clearing. Some protestors were charged with domestic terroristic acts by the authorities. a An expert in legal matters described the move as “heavy handed” because those charges are, according to state guidelines, possible to carry. a Maximum 35-year sentence in prison
Anthony Michael Kreis, a Georgia State University law professor, said that many laws could be made. the Regierung “to prosecute wrongdoing like property destruction without citing terrorism and imposing outsized punishments.” He denied that he was guilty of such charges “chill group protest if peaceful protesters fear that they could be deemed guilty for associating with an event where a few bad apples are suddenly branded as domestic terrorists.”
Opposition the Atlanta Project arose out of the anger of overreserves the 2020 murder of George Floyd, police officers in Minneapolis the Rayshard and Brooks were shot by the police several weeks later. in Atlanta and other concerns the city’s famed tree canopy was dwindling.
Over the years a Plan was slowly moving forward to join patches of woodland remaining into a This park is a giant, 1,200-acre one. It’s larger than Central Park in New York. The decision in 2021 to place a Large police training facility in the Many found it to be incredibly gut wrenching. the Park plan and provision a Giveaway the police.
“These are the last large swaths of undeveloped forest” in the Ted Terry stated that this is the best region in which to live. a DeKalb County commissioner, who once led the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club, an environment organization. “If we lose these acres, it cannot be reversed.”
Critics in Atlanta says that officials are also insulate the You can save your project from the public fury by outsourcing it the Atlanta Police Foundation a A nonprofit that includes wealthy business leaders on its boards and is currently raising the majority of funds the Anticipated $90 million the Training site
Rob Baskin a For more information, contact the spokesperson the Foundation, claimed it was involved due to the statements of successive police chiefs and mayors over many years the Urgently-needed city a New training center, had been asked the Foundation to Take the Lead in Making plans. “The whole purpose we have in building this facility is to make sure our officers are well trained,” Baskin, Mr.
Mr. Thomas, the For more information, contact the spokesperson the city’s mayor, said the Atlanta police officers were committed “community-based policing and de-escalation techniques.” But plans for the Fears that many of these people have expressed through mock cities are now being exacerbated the The training will be more about tactics to avert armed confrontations than it is on how to lessen reliance on the use of deadly force.
Scenes of officers with long guns and armored trucks moving in the These concerns were only reinforced by construction sites.
“The militarization of the last 20 years or so has done more to worsen the relationship with the community,” Richard Rose is the president of the Atlanta chapter the N.A.A.C.P. “The armored trucks, the different uniforms, the humongous guns — all of those strike fear into the heart of the community, even if you are a law-abiding citizen.”
A 26-year old protester was shot to death in January was known by fellow “forest defenders” as Tortuguita, or “Little Turtle,” and dreamed of becoming a Doctor, but felt the need to be a member the Make an effort to save the Woodlands can be used for spiritual or political purposes. the protester’s mother, Belkis Terán, recalled recently in Interview.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is currently investigating the shooting, said that Jan. 18th was the date. the The police were able to get rid of the suspects the Tortuguita, the leader of the protests in the forest, fired his first shots “without warning,” Striking a trooper. According to reports, officers returned fire. the authorities.
Tortuguita’s mother described her child as a “pacifist” According to an autopsy, 13 bullet wounds were found in the body. Activists question the authorities’ account of what happened and have demanded an independent investigation.
Tortuguita’s mother said her child “wanted to be in the forest” And was “feeling God there.” She hoped, she said, that her child’s death was not in vain.