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Brown community members attend teach-in on Stop Cop City

Speakers discussed resistance tactics, project timeline, indictments against protestors

Topics covered by the teach-in included resistance tactics used by protestors, the project’s timeline and the recent indictment of protestors on RICO charges.

Courtesy of Brown University
Topics covered by the teach-in included resistance tactics used by protestors, the project’s timeline and the recent indictment of protestors on RICO charges. Courtesy of Brown University

Around 20 University community members gathered in Smith-Buonanno Hall Monday night for a teach-in on the Stop Cop City movement hosted by local prison abolition group RailRoad.

The Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, better known as Cop City, is a police campus under construction in Atlanta designed to train local and global officers, The Herald previously reported. The 85-acre development project has faced opposition since its announcement in 2021.

Topics covered by the teach-in included resistance tactics used by protestors, the project’s timeline and the recent indictment of protestors under Georgia’s Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act.

Cop City would be the “largest police training facility in the entire country,” said Garrett Brand ’26, a speaker at the event. It would cost approximately $90 million to build, which consists of around $67 million in taxpayer dollars, he added

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Event organizers noted that the proposed facility also has plans for direct engagement with cross-training collaborations between Atlanta and the Israeli military via the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange program.

“Part of the rhetoric around Cop City has always been that it’s going to be a model for police training across not just the entire US but the world,” Brand said.

Addison Kerwin’ 24, who grew up in Atlanta, recalled outcries against the project in the city. 

“No one in the city, at least that I knew, was for” the facility, Kerwin said.“It was weird power dynamics (at play). Despite all the protests and stuff, it just kind of went through.”

A motion in support of a referendum to repeal authorization for Cop City collected more than 116,000 signatures, higher than the 58,000 required to put Stop Cop City on the ballot. Atlanta officials refused to verify the vote after an appellate court froze a time extension on signature submission granted by a federal judge, the Associated Press reported.

“Organizers would come in hundreds to the forest, sometimes even building tree houses and living there to ensure that construction of Cop City and destruction of the forest wasn’t occurring,” said Jo Ouyang ’26, a Brown-RISD Dual Degree student.

Ouyang was inspired to organize the event with RailRoad after learning about an anti-Cop City week of action planned by Atlanta community members for the coming weeks. 

The 12-minute documentary, called “Beneath the Concrete, the Forest” and produced by Lev Omelchenko, featured the viewpoint of a man protesting the building of Cop City from a tree house in the forest threatened by its construction.

“This beautiful natural resource has been replaced by something that further marginalizes already marginalized communities,” Kerwin said. “I’m really excited that Brown has been taking notice of it.”

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