Common Cause Georgia Calls for Transparency, Meaningful Public Input with Today’s Vote on Cop City Project

ATLANTA — As the Atlanta City Council prepares to vote Monday afternoon on a controversial proposal to build a law enforcement training center, Common Cause Georgia is calling on city and state leaders to respect people’s right to protest and provide more transparency about the project. 

The “Cop City” proposal, which seeks to build an 85-acre police training facility in the middle of a forest southeast of Atlanta, has been hugely controversial, and tensions have heightened following the shooting death by police of a 26-year-old protester. 

The Atlanta City Council is scheduled to vote at 1 p.m. today on whether to approve $67 million, up from $30 million, in public funding for the Atlanta Police Foundation to build the facility. The council meeting can be watched live here

The actual costs and potential impacts of the Cop City project must be disclosed fully to the public, with recent news reports showing that cost estimates are ballooning and double what it was initially, said Aunna Dennis, Common Cause Georgia’s Executive Director. 

“The residents of Atlanta haven’t had enough opportunities to learn about this project and provide meaningful input,” Dennis said. “Keeping people in the dark about this or any other matter is not how things work in our democracy, and there needs to be more transparency around this controversial project.” 

In addition, Dennis urged city and state officials to respect people’s right to protest, rights that have come under attack with the coordinated arrests of three organizers of a bail fund that was helping arrested protesters and Gov. Brian Kemp’s harmful comments calling the protests “domestic terrorists.” 

“The First Amendment makes clear the right to peacefully protest and that needs to be respected and upheld, no matter how inconvenient that is for those that want to push this project through,” Dennis said. “We are calling on our governor to tone down his harmful rhetoric and signal his commitment to the democratic principle of free speech by speaking out in support of people’s rights to protest and voice dissent.”