Superior Court of Fulton County Rejected Temporary Restraining Order to Stop Atlanta Public Safety Training Center Construction

A group named The South River Watershed Alliance and other people and organizations purporting to want to protect the land filed a lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order against the construction of the planned Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. They lost their battle in court against the training center.

The FOX 5 Atlanta statement included the ten-page order issued by Judge Cox of the Superior Court of Fulton County, State of Georgia. The plaintiffs included the South River Watershed Alliance, Inc. and two named individuals. The defendant was the Atlanta Police Foundation, Inc.

Judge Cox’s order denied the Plaintiffs’ Motion requesting an Emergency Temporary Restraining Order to Stop Unauthorized Clearing. As reported, the court held a hearing on February 16, 2023. The court stated: “Upon consideration of the pleadings, evidence, and argument of counsel, this Court DENIES the Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”).” The court’s ruling does not mean that the construction may not be halted in the future. The ruling means that insufficient evidence was presented to persuade the judge that construction of the facility should be stopped now.

As described in the FOX 5 Atlanta report, the people referred to as protesters “derisively” referred to the land being cleared for the police and firefighter training center as “Cop City.” Land clearing had already begun.

The strategy of the Plaintiffs South River Watershed Alliance and others was to “impose a temporary restraining order on the project while they appeal its construction permits.” These opponents to the construction of the facility “argued that work at the site should stop while DeKalb County considers a zoning appeal to the project. They also argued about environmental concerns at the site.”

A brief history of the project was provided in the article. “The training center was approved by the Atlanta City Council in 2021 after 17 hours of public comments — the majority of which were in opposition to the project. Some locals cited noise concerns, while others said the planned destruction of nature significantly undermines the city’s efforts to preserve its famed tree canopy and would exacerbate local flooding risks.”

Protesters, sometimes referred to as “activists,” also, as reported, opposed spending the funds on a police facility that would be surrounded by poor, majority-Black neighborhoods in a city with one of the nation’s highest degrees of wealth inequality. The opponents did not suggest alternative locations for the training facility.

Judge Cox did order the Atlanta Police Foundation to pay for daily inspections at the site to make sure the project is causing as little disturbance to the land as possible. “In January, while announcing that construction permits had been approved, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said the city is taking steps to protect the woodlands.” Mayor Dickens elaborated: “This is Atlanta, and we know forests. This facility would not be built over a forest.”

D & B Staff

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