BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Atlanta police are working to learn the identities of several people seen vandalizing the office of a contractor working with the Atlanta Police Foundation to contract a new training facility, also known as “Cop City.”
Brassfield & Gorrie’s office in Birmingham, Alabama, had several broken windows, paint splashed on its sign and graffiti painted on a window that said: “Drop Cop City or Else.”
The business claims the vandals are responsible for $80,000 in damage to the property.
Crime Stoppers said incident happened between 2:46 a.m. and 2:50 a.m. on May 13. Investigators believe the suspects are two men and one woman.
The vandals appeared to leave the scene in a white Toyota Prius on 31st Street.
Anyone with information can contact Crime Stoppers of Greater Atlanta at 404-577-TIPS (8477).
What is ‘Cop City?’
Atlanta City Council approved a proposal to lease forested land in unincorporated DeKalb County to the Atlanta Police Foundation to build a training facility for police and first responders.
City council tabled a vote on a controversial state-of-the-art training facility on Aug. 16, stating public engagement on the matter was poorly executed.
The Atlanta Police Foundation plans to fund and build a new facility on 85 acres and preserve the remaining portion of the 265-acres property as green space, which is currently not accessible to the public.
Video shows ‘Molotov cocktail’ thrown at ‘Cop City’ site
Atlanta Police Department Assistant Chief Darin Schierbaum said no one was injured when someone threw a “glass container with an accelerant inside and a crude ignition device.” Hours later police said someone threw another “Molotov cocktail,” which didn’t ignite. The incident happened on Key Road.
Marlon Kautz of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund told FOX 5 Atlanta he’d seen nothing but “peaceful protesting” and “no evidence” of the incendiary device. It’s unclear where the explosive was thrown in relation to the protest where police arrested at least seven people.
The ‘forest defenders’ hold ongoing protest
Some people who call themselves “forest defenders” have been camping on the site since last year. Police said they have been sabotaging construction efforts and the protesters have claimed they have driven spikes into trees to make them hazardous to cut down.
“This is an attempt to demoralize a vibrant and diverse movement that is led by local community members against the replacement of the largest urban tree canopy in the United States the largest police training compound in the United States,” said Mae Johnson, an activist who lives near the site.
Over the last month, the group has protested at the company contracted to build the training facility and even its CEO’s home. Last week, police in Cobb County arrested two protesters for vandalizing the office of one of the building contractors involved in the project.
Over the weekend, the activist said officers charged at them unprovoked while protesting in the streets near Freedom Park.
Multiple people in the group identified themselves as Georgia residents.
What is the ‘Stop Cop City’ movement?
Protestors oppose “the expansion of the police state” and said the Atlanta Police Foundation is threatening the Atlanta forest. Tuesday’s protest was one of several on the property recently. There was a protest at Inman Park where people were arrested “with extreme force,” according to Kautz.
“We are not extremest, we are neighbors of the forest, residents of south Atlanta, most importantly, we are intelligent people who know the future of the world is on fire,” Mae Johnson, who said she lives in a neighborhood near “Cop City.”
She said the “Stop Cop City” movement has broad support because of the environmental impact the forest has on the city. City council members said they would be planting hundreds more trees for each tree that would be cut down.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.