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Motion to stop construction at Atlanta Police training center denied by judge

Groups opposed to the facility hoped that the restraining order would temporarily halt construction until an appeal against its land disturbance permit was settled.

ATLANTA — A Fulton County judge denied a motion seeking a temporary restraining order against the Atlanta Police Foundation. The restraining order was an attempt to stop construction at the site of Atlanta's future public safety training facility. 

Groups opposed to the facility hoped that the restraining order would temporarily halt construction at the site until an appeal against its land disturbance permit in DeKalb County was sorted. 

However, the motion was denied. The decision was made after “plaintiffs failed to submit certified copies of the DeKalb County Code or Ordinances,” according to court documents. 

Those opposed to the training center argued that since the site is being built in the county, construction should have been halted until the zoning board reached a decision regarding the appeal. Without certified copies, the judge "could not address this argument."  

Although the certified copies weren’t provided, the motion would have most likely been denied, the judge said. Since the city purchased the property for government use, the county zoning rules wouldn’t apply to them. The decision was made based on another Georgia case, cited in the court document.

Contention surrounding the training site, also known as ‘Cop City’ by opposition

The future training site, or as critics and call it, “Cop City,” has been a point of contention since the land was purchased for construction.

The protest movement opposed to “Cop City” claim the land purchased by the City of Atlanta is historically Native American land. At one point in time, the land was also the site of the Old Prison Farm, a jail complex where prisoners farmed the land. The practice was later scrutinized for its profit generation and exploitation of unpaid labor.

Tensions in the development of the site hit an all-time high after an activist was killed on the property. 

Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, who was also known as Tortuguita, was shot and killed by a trooper after Paez Teran fired at troopers, according to the GBI. The official version of events has been disputed by the protest movement and Paez Teran's family. In particular, the lack of bodycam video - which GSP troopers do not wear - has become a point of contention in fleshing out what exactly happened during the shootout.

The opposition movement reached a peak with demonstrations through downtown Atlanta that left a police vehicle burned out and several buildings damaged, one of them targeted for housing the Atlanta Police Foundation.  

The law enforcement community has argued the training facility would be a crucial component in stabilizing the police force, aiding in recruitment and retention after low morale and departures following the racial and criminal justice protests of 2020.

Following the judge's decision to deny the opposition's, construction of Atlanta's future public safety training facility will continue.

A PDF of the court's decision is included here: 

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