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King Center Backs Referendum on Cop City; ACLU, NAACP Call for Probe into Targeting of Activists

HeadlineAug 09, 2023

Back in the U.S., in Atlanta, support is growing for a citywide referendum that could decide the future of Cop City, a massive, multimillion-dollar police training complex. The King Center, run by Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., has joined Cop City opponents in calling on Atlanta officials to allow for a public vote on the project. The King Center criticized Atlanta leadership for ignoring the ardent community opposition against Cop City and the use of public funding. The campaign Vote to Stop Cop City is working to meet an August 14 deadline to collect 70,000 signatures from Atlanta voters to put a referendum on the November ballot to stop Cop City.

This comes as civil and human rights organizations, including the ACLU and the NAACP, are urging the Homeland Security Department to investigate the mass targeting and surveillance of Cop City protesters, as dozens of forest defenders have been arrested and charged with domestic terrorism. The groups warn of the “dangers of … vague, overbroad, and stigmatizing terms like 'domestic violent extremist' and 'militant' to describe individuals who may be engaged in protected First Amendment activity.”

Meanwhile, an environmental group has sued the city of Atlanta as construction of Cop City has already contaminated local water streams. The lawsuit, filed by the South River Watershed Alliance, could temporarily block construction of the project.

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