Atlanta protesters arrested while City Council passes lease agreement with police foundation

Eleven protesters were reportedly detained by the Atlanta Police Department following a demonstration outside of Council Member Natalyn Archibong\’s residence

A photograph of protesters detained outside of Council Member Natalyn Archibong\’s residence the night of Sept. 8. Protesters were gathered outside holding signs that read No Cop Academy while Archibong and the rest of Atlanta City Council were tuned into the night\’s virtual meeting deliberating a ground lease to be issued with Atlanta Police Foundation. The lease agreement, which effectively sells massive acreage of city-owned land of the South River Forest and Old Atlanta Prison Farm, was passed in council in a 10-4 vote. Photo credit: The Mainline/2021.

ATLANTA — On Wed., Sept. 8, The Mainline received reports that protesters were gathered outside of city council members homes while the council was in the process of deliberating the lease agreement between the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Police Foundation for the construction of the $90 million training facility known as Cop City. The ordinance was passed and moved forward in council with a 10-4 vote, and opposition in the city continues to swell in response.

The Mainline received a video submission showing that protesters were arrested outside of Council Member Natalyn Archibong\’s residence around 8 p.m., about an hour before the final vote during council\’s session. Reports from on the ground told us 11 were arrested while complying with police\’s dispersal orders with a total of 13 police officers present. Sources reached out to The Mainline to provide the following statement on behalf of those who were detained:

Folks wanted to let you know everyone who was protesting at Archibong\’s house were all arrested despite the fact they were already dispersing and following orders. [The] charge was \’pedestrian in the roadway.\’ Everyone has given consent to [report] in Mainline.

We have confirmed with local organizers that all but two detainees have been released from the Atlanta City Detention Center as of 3:15 a.m. on Thurs., Sept. 9. One of the detainees contacted The Mainline after they were released to provide the following comment detailing her experience of being arrested:

Tonight, as I was being loaded into the paddy wagon, I noticed a shred of emotion in the face of the officer loading me in. I said to him, \’I can see in your face that you know this is [messed] up. These should all be tickets and we should be on our way home. I hope you take this experience and retire early.\’ I could see the anguish in his eyes as he reckoned with the truth of what I was saying—and still, he did his job. We followed every instruction they gave us and I still watched in horror as they violently threw my friend to the ground.

In an interview with local journalist King Williams, Archibong spoke to the events that took place outside of her residence and explained she did not learn of the arrests until she received a direct text message from APD Zone 6 commander at 9:46 p.m. According to Archibong, the message said, Just FYI, officers made arrests outside on your street. Protesters refused to move from roadway after being lawfully ordered to do so.

Archibong told Williams she will not press any charges against protesters outside her home and confirmed there was no property damage. In regards to public opposition evolving in the city in light of council\’s vote earlier in the night, she said organizers and residents should stay the course.

We will continue to report on this story and the opposition against Cop City and deforestation of the South River Forest/Old Atlanta Prison Farm in Atlanta as it develops.

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