Atlanta's controversial police and fire training center got the green light Tuesday as the city council voted to approve $31 million for the project. The council voted 11-4 after a marathon meeting that began just after lunch Monday and lasted until around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, reports Axios. Activists cried "Cop City will never be built!" as they packed City Hall to oppose the measure. Opponents say the project will decimate the South River Forest, where it is to be built, and the training will lead to the militarization of the Atlanta Police Department. City leaders and other supporters argue that the complex will provide much-needed training facilities for Atlanta's police officers and firefighters.
Hundreds of people made public comments during the 14-hour session. Most opposed the project, saying that Atlanta should instead invest in programs addressing the underlying causes of crime, consider alternative sites or send the legislation back to committee for more feedback. One supporter, who became an Atlanta police recruit in 2017, said he was "underwhelmed" by the state of the police department's training facilities. He said officers must travel 60 miles south to learn how to operate their patrol cars. Hundreds of opponents cheered, clapped and shouted "viva viva Tortuguita" — a reference to the activist who was killed by law enforcement at the site of the future training center this year — and "Stop Cop City" throughout the public comment period.