Atlanta, GA – Organizers, activists and community members garnered a huge win as a federal judge extend ed the Stop Cop City petition deadline to late September. In a suit against the city by DeKalb county residents, U.S. District Judge Mark Cohen struck down the unlawful and undemocratic rule, July 27, that only Atlanta residents could gather signatures on the petition.
Lifting this hurdle not only allows organizers to collect signatures freely but gives a voice to those living in unincorporated DeKalb county who will have the training center in their backyard with no way to make their voice heard on the issue. In addition to more community members being able to gather signatures, an additional 60 days to gather them was added on to push the ballot initiative in the March ballot.
The movement to Stop Cop City and Save the Weelaunee Forest has been fighting against the $90 million training facility since 2021 when it was announced. Many cities across the nation have beefed up police budgets and filed repressive legislation as a reaction to the George Floyd rebellion in 2020 and Atlanta was no different. The movement has seen repression through the arrests of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund 3, domestic terrorism charges being thrown on 23 protesters, and the murder of Manuel “Tortuguita” Paez by the Georgia State Patrol.
More recently, Mayor Andre Dickens has publicly denounced the petition, saying that it was illegitimate before the necessary signatures had been gathered, and Atlanta Police Department was stalking the social media accounts of activists gathering signatures. These repressive acts have only invigorated and fueled the movement to continue fighting more fiercely while gaining support nationally.
The petition is the newest in a multi-pronged fight to stop Cop City. Having gathered over 35,000 signatures thus far, organizers are more than halfway to the necessary 60,000 signatures to force a vote in the November election, allowing the voices of the many to be heard, voices that demand an end to Cop City.