FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kelsey Lyon, Communications Director
Cop City breaks government promises in cruel way, Oliver says
SWAT from around the world would learn so-called urban pacification at this facility
ATLANTA – Atlanta officials are ignoring their promises to turn a former plantation and prison into a greenspace for local residents. Instead, they are now using violence to crush protests against their Cop City SWAT team training center plans.
“Wherever you’re from, expect your major metropolitan police departments to be exporting their SWAT teams down to be trained at Cop City,” says Chase Oliver, Libertarian presidential hopeful. “And that’s probably not just U.S. police. You’ll probably see police from around the world coming to Atlanta to learn how to crack down on their citizens.”
Oliver says the Cop City project came about in reaction to calls to defund the police following the 2020 shooting of Rayshard Brooks. “This led to a backlash from Atlanta city politicians, who were cynically courting votes from law enforcement,” says Oliver.
“The Atlanta city government reneged on their agreement to leave this land in perpetuity as green space because they said, “Now we want to turn this into a giant training facility.”
Oliver saw hundreds of people coming to speak during the May 15 Atlanta City Council meeting, directly to their elected officials. After seven hours of comments and hundreds of people showing up to speak- all opposing Cop City – the funding was introduced anyway. During Oliver’s time to speak, he discussed the broken trust between the people and the government/police.
The government proceeding with the introduction despite heavy opposition during public comments further breaks trust with everyday people in Atlanta.
“I met people across the ideological and political spectrum, coming together around this issue,” Oliver says. “I met people who had lost family to police violence, I met parents who worry about what Atlanta will look like for their children, and I met so many young people who are set to inherit this city, and they all oppose construction of Cop City and the destruction of the forest.”
“I’m not against police being properly trained. I think properly trained and urban pacification are two different things. We don’t need to militarize our police any more than we already are. In fact, we need to be taking a step back from the over-militarization of police and change the way we approach policing all together. That includes ending qualified immunity, which includes individual officers holding personal liability insurance for their actions. There are lots of stuff that we can do to improve policing. Creating giant training facilities so they can crack down on entire populations probably isn’t the way to do it. It’s probably not the best use of money, either. It’s costing us. It’s a quote-unquote public-private partnership,” says Oliver.
The center is expected to cost $90 million and take up over 85 acres, with the remaining 265 acres being used as a greenspace, according to the project’s website.
The center will include an auditorium, an Emergency Vehicle Operator Course, a K-9 unit kennel, and training. A mock city will be used to teach police urban pacification. The first phase of the training center is scheduled to open in late 2023. Atlanta City Council will meet again on June 5 to discuss moving forward with the project. Oliver urges all Atlanta city residents to join the meeting to make their voices heard.
Oliver was the first openly gay Senate candidate in Georgia, where he garnered over 80,000 votes and forced a runoff between the Republican and Democratic candidates. Oliver is running for president, seeking to be the Libertarian Party candidate in 2024.
To learn more about Chase Oliver, please visit votechaseoliver.com.
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