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Opposition to ‘Cop City,’ a planned $90 million police training facility in Atlanta, continues to grow nationally after Hollywood celebrity Amanda Seales weighed in over the weekend.
In an interview with TheGrio at the Congressional Black Caucus’s 52nd annual Legislative Conference in D.C., actor and comedian Amanda Seales blasted the decision by city officials to move forward with the facility despite widespread opposition from residents and activists.
“It is no far cry for us to just do the basic math that policing is not for Black people. Policing in this nation is very specifically grounded in the disruption of the peace of Black people,” Seales, who starred on “Insecure”, told TheGrio’s Ashlee Banks.
For years, residents and environmental activists who say the facility would further criminalize marginalized people and destroy green spaces have remained opposed to the facility.
Yet opposition to Cop City intensified after Georgia State Patrol shot and killed unarmed forest defender Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, who went by Tortuguita, on January 18. A family autopsy revealed Tortuguita was likely shot with his legs crossed while sitting on the ground.
“But it’s masked as if it’s for crime,” Seales said. “But if you look at Black people as criminals, well, then here we are.”
Amanda Seales calls out Cop City
Protests against ‘Cop City’ grew violent at times, with 35 people arrested in March after bottles and rocks were thrown at police officers.
In a move widely criticized as undemocratic, Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr announced the state is charging dozens of ‘Stop Cop City’ protesters with committing organized crime, or RICO charges, for their roles in the protest. At least three people were charged with felonies for raising money to bail people out of jail.
Voices like Amanda Seales are urgently sounding the alarm.
“We are urgently seeking licensed GA attorneys to represent community members and fulfill our mission to protect the right to dissent,” The Southern Center for Human Rights said in a statement posted to X. “The Bridge will compensate retained attorneys. If interested in joining the First Amendment Lawyer Bridge, please contact us at email@example.com.”
Meanwhile, police across the nation have killed 827 people in 2023, according to Mapping Police Violence. Last year, police killed 1,201 people. Roughly 26% of those killed were Black even though Black Americans only make up 13% of the population.
“So when we’re building an entire city that is dedicated to this, already in a nation that’s been dedicated to this, we see that it’s only gonna spread like wildfire, which we also know is an environmental issue related to climate change,” Amanda Seales said.