Candice Bernd: Inside Forest Defenders’ Blockade of Atlanta’s “Cop City” Training Compound

The blockade is the culmination of more than a year of resistance to the planned compound.

Truthout, February 23, 2022

On January 28, Atlanta resident and activist April* joined about 60 racial and environmental justice protesters at Intrenchment Creek Park in the South River Forest — a vital green space that plays a crucial role in the region’s ecology, serving as Atlanta and south DeKalb County’s largest watershed and floodplain.

She was there to protest preparatory work on what Atlanta-area activists have dubbed “Cop City,” an 85-acre, $90 million police militarization and training complex spearheaded by the Atlanta Police Foundation that, if built, would be one of the largest police training facilities in the country. The site would contain several shooting ranges, a helicopter landing base, an area for explosives training, police-horse stables and an entire mock city for officers to engage in role-playing activities.

The protesters marched through the South River Forest to a boring machine being used to collect soil samples in advance of the compound’s construction, where a brief standoff with several workers and DeKalb County sheriff’s deputies ensued. After police reinforcements arrived, protesters say the sheriff’s deputies attacked the crowd, tackling April and other protesters to the ground. She and two others were arrested and jailed on misdemeanor trespassing charges. Another protester faces a felony-level charge of obstructing a police officer.

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