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'Drop Cop City or Else' | $80,000 in damage caused at offices of contractor for new Atlanta police training center

The offices for Brasfield & Gorrie in Birmingham were vandalized on May 13, according to Crime Stoppers Atlanta.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The offices of the contracting company for the proposed fire and police training center in southeast Atlanta, dubbed "Cop City" by the project's opponents, were reportedly vandalized to the tune of $80,000 in damage earlier this month.

According to Crime Stoppers Atlanta, on May 13 a group broke windows and painted "Drop Cop City or Else" on the building where contracting firm Brasfield & Gorrie keeps its offices in Birmingham, Alabama.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Crime Stoppers said the group included what they believed to be two men and a woman.

RELATED: Rocks, possible Molotov cocktail thrown toward officers at future home of 'Cop City,' APD says

After they were done, they were "observed being picked up by an unidentified individual in what appeared to be a white Toyota Prius" on 31st Street in Birmingham.

Crime Stoppers said there was a $2,000 reward for information on the incident, and provided several surveillance videos from that night.

On May 13, 2022, three individuals were observed on camera damaging a commercial property located at 3021 7th Ave...

Posted by Crime Stoppers Greater Atlanta on Friday, May 27, 2022

The $90 million proposal for the training center would see much of the old Prison Farm built upon in the middle of an urban forest that activists have contended should be preserved.

They want to see it maintained as a greenspace, and have objected to using public land for the facility in a predominantly Black section of southeast Atlanta rather than in wealthier, whiter sections of the city, such as Buckhead.

Local groups have staged protests against "Cop City" and at least one faction of protesters erected encampments in the forest and stayed there for months to try and block progress on the project.

The tension around the project reached a boil earlier this month when Atlanta Police and several other law enforcement agencies cleared out those encampments, making several arrests as rocks and at least one Molotov cocktail style incendiary were allegedly thrown toward officers.

11Alive's Tracey Amick Peer visited the protest encampments - which were first established around December - in February.

One activist, Coyote, said the group feels the facility is bad for the ecology of the area and they want the land to go back to the Muscogee tribe instead. In general, they don't support any police training facility, anywhere.

"The drastic response of police militarizing against people trying to protect our forest and our local community is very concerning," a local activist said in a statement sent to 11Alive as the encampments were being cleared. "Militarized police is not how we keep community safe."

 APD Assistant Chief Darin Schierbaum said the area is City of Atlanta property where there is no public access and where it is not legal for people to be camped.

Schierbaum said several of the people arrested had out-of-state driver's licenses, and that in moving ahead with the training facility "we will not be deterred by the acts of a few that do not represent our community."

The plan for the facility was approved by the City Council last year on a 10-4 vote. It provides for a ground lease agreement between the city and the Atlanta Police Foundation, which says it will build on 85 acres of the site and preserve the remaining 180 acres as greenspace. 

Former Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms promised at the time of the project's approval that planners would protect the fabric of the urban forest at the portions of the site that will not be built on for the facility.

Current Mayor Andre Dickens was among the 10 votes in favor of the project as a councilman last year.

Crime Stoppers said anyone with information about the incident in Birmingham can call 404-577-TIPS (8477).


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