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Activists gather to march in protest of Atlanta Public Safety Training Center

Crime and public safety DeKalb County Trending

Activists gather to march in protest of Atlanta Public Safety Training Center

Protesters move into a police line during a demonstration in opposition to a new police training center, Monday, Nov. 13, 2023, in Atlanta.

By Madeline Montgomery and Patrick Quinn, Atlanta News First 

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) — Activists and police had a confrontation involving tear gas during a march by the group “Block Cop City” on Monday, according to the protestors.

The activists gathered Monday morning at Gresham Park to march in protest of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, which critics refer to as “Cop City.”

“When you march, and demonstrate and conduct acts of civil disobedience, you’re doing it for the people,” said Kamau Franklin, a protestor at the event.

The march followed a weekend full of events by the group “Block Cop City.” They started Friday, using the time to prepare for today with protest training and legal education.

“We’ve been out here for two years fighting to stop cop city. In that time, a lot has happened,” said Franklin. “People have lost their lives. People have been charged with domestic terrorism.”

DeKalb County police said the protestors began an “unpermitted march” on Constitution Road toward the site of the future training facility, blocking two lanes of traffic, around 10:30 a.m.

Around 10:50 a.m., police said the protestors were told by loudspeaker that they were “obstructing the roadway and that they would not be permitted to proceed.”

Police said protestors ignored commands and they then forced their way through a line of 30 DeKalb police officers, and that’s when the tear gas was used.

Around 11:45 a.m., police said protestors started walking back toward Gresham Park.

DeKalb County police said there were no injuries and no arrests as of noon on Monday.

As of 1:30 p.m., Atlanta police said there have been no arrests.

Around 2:45 p.m. on Monday, DeKalb County police said around 100 protestors returned to Gresham Park and have remained peaceful.

DeKalb County police said the agency is monitoring the situation.

The protesting and outrage against the facility have been ongoing. The center is being built as a place where police, fire, EMS, and first responders can learn de-escalation and other training.

Protestors take issue with the facility due to its environmental impact as well as opposition to police presence due to police misconduct, police brutality, and over-policing.

At the rally ahead of the march, Manuel Paez Teran’s parents spoke. Paez Teran was shot and killed by police while protesting in the forest in January.

“We’re going to continue running. We’re going to continue defending the forest. We’re going to continue defending the legacy of Tortuguita,” said Joel Paez.

At an event on Sunday, Atlanta News First spoke with a man who traveled from New York to be a part of the “Stop Cop City” movement.

“I think it’s all hands on deck approach. I think we fight this legislatively. I think we fight this every day in our communities. I think we fight this with direct action and education but also making sure we’re listening to people that are living in these neighborhoods and those in touch with the environmental issues as well,” said Derrick Ingram with the Stop Cop City Movement.

The group plans to march on a path through the woods toward the construction site for the training facility. DeKalb County and Atlanta police have the training facility’s campus surrounded.

Decaturish media partner Atlanta News First provided this story.