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More than 1,000 people sign up to speak at public comment before proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Facility vote

Councilmembers are expected to vote early Tuesday morning, after public comment.

ATLANTA — People flooded City Hall Monday to speak before the vote on funding for Atlanta's proposed public safety training facility, which opponents call 'Cop City.' 

Everyone signed up to speak will hopefully get their chance to talk ahead of the Atlanta City Council's anticipated vote early Tuesday morning. More than 1,000 people signed up to speak with time for only 357 of them during normal public comment. The Council made a motion to extend that time with the hopes of allowing everyone to talk.

Hundreds of protestors filled the inside of Atlanta's City Hall. Among them was community organizer Keyanna Jones. 

“We have shown up in record-breaking numbers," Jones said.

They prepared for the long day with a lot of food as they pleaded with City Council not to approve funding for the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. Jones is one of the many people who spoke during public comment. 

“I asked the council to reconsider," Jones said. "I urged them to reconsider because what I said to them is this may really be the last time you have the opportunity to save your soul.”

Dutsch Dorman and Damon Arnwire traveled from Tennessee to speak. 

“It’s kind of really emotional and really heartening and stuff, and then there’s still people outside that aren’t being allowed in. People are banging on the doors and trying to get in. That’s really emotional and really moving," Dorman said.

“I think it was important to come here today because it feels like a slap in the face, ‘Cop City’ does, because it’s gutting the heart of Atlanta," Arnwire said. 

Atlanta City Councilwoman Keisha Waites plans on voting against the facility but said she still supports law enforcement.

“Given what you have seen in this building, given the weeks and weeks and weeks almost months of protests and of agitation, I don’t believe right now we have public support for this project, and I don’t believe we have the confidence of the public," Waites said.

“There’s a lot of passion in the audience," Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond said.

Bond believes despite that passion, approving the facility is the right thing to do. 

“There are over 3,000 911 calls a day in Atlanta, so there’s a demonstrated need for this service," Bond said. "We just have to find a way to address it, work for a better relationship, and rebuilt trust with the community.”

Public comment should continue until at least 2 a.m. Tuesday. The Council is expected to vote after that, and it is expected to pass unless some members have a change of heart.

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