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City: Petition signatures on future Atlanta public safety training center turned in past original deadline

Crime and public safety Metro ATL

City: Petition signatures on future Atlanta public safety training center turned in past original deadline

A group called Vote to Stop Cop City Coalition prepares to deliver a petition this morning at Atlanta City Hall. The group claims it has twice the required signatures to force a ballot question on the public safety training center. Photo by Rebekka Schramm, Atlanta News First

By Rebekka Schramm, Patrick Quinn and Atlanta News First staff

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) — Opponents of Atlanta’s future public safety training center tried to deliver a petition Monday featuring more than 116,000 signatures in an attempt to force city leaders to let voters decide whether the plan should move forward.

But in a statement Monday, city officials said the signatures were turned in past a given deadline.

A group called “The Vote to Stop Cop City Coalition” used the human chain method, passing the boxes of signatures one-by-one up the stairs of city hall to the clerk’s office. The delivery happened ahead of a timeline an appeals court had imposed.

City officials must verify that at least 58,232 of the signatures are from registered Atlanta voters. The timeline for signature verification remained unclear.

On Monday, city officials said the petitions have been locked away in a “secure location until we receive further rulings from the 11th Circuit Court.”

In a statement, the city said state law and the city’s code have a 60-day deadline for petition circulation.

City officials said the original petition was issued June 21, “making August 21 the original 60-day deadline for petition submission.”

“The petitioners could have turned their petition in, on, or before, August 21, and indeed several times said they were going to do so but opted instead to take an additional three weeks to circulate their petition for signature,” Foris Webb III, clerk emeritus for the City of Atlanta, said. “Today, Sept. 11, is 81 days after the date the sponsor of the petition first obtained copies of the petition from the municipal clerk.

Webb said the city is “prohibited by state law from accepting the petition for verification, absent further guidance from the 11th Circuit.”

“However, the city is willing to receive the signed petition pages into its custody, subject to the express understanding that such receipt does not constitute acceptance for verification, pending further rulings and guidance from the 11th Circuit. If and when the City receives guidance from the 11th Circuit to proceed with verifying the petitions, the Office of the Municipal Clerk will begin the process that was previously outlined,” Webb said in a statement.

“The city was notified on Thursday of our intention to submit, yet was too cowardly to release any response, or even respond to our email, until after we arrived,” Glaze said. “Shame on the city for playing games with the sweat, hard work, and demands of 116,000 of their constituents.”

Decaturish media partner Atlanta News First provided this story.