Dozens Arrested in Violent Protests at Police Training Site

March 6, 2023

At least 35 people were arrested Sunday night after protests at the construction site of a police training center in Atlanta turned violent.

Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said during a midnight news conference that construction equipment had been set on fire at the site where the Atlanta Public Training Center is being built. Opponents of the site call it “Cop City.” 

Police also released video showing incidents of flaming bottles, bricks and rocks being thrown at officers by protesters dressed in black. 

According to police, around 5:30 p.m. Sunday, dozens of protesters had left the nearby South River Music Festival, changed into black clothing, and entered the construction site.

“This was a very violent attack that occurred,” said Chief Schierbaum. He added that such actions “will not be tolerated.”

The 85-acre training site is set to include classrooms, an amphitheater and spaces where police officers can simulate shootouts and high-speed chases. Firefighters will also be able to receive training there.

The cost of construction is estimated to be at $90 million. A nonprofit organization, the Atlanta Police Foundation, is raising most of the funding.

Sunday’s violence comes after an incident in January at the site, when a 26-year-old environmental activist, Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, was shot to death by authorities in the forest where the training center is under construction. A state trooper was also seriously injured in that incident.

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