Federal court judge denies City of Atlanta's appeal to try to halt 'Cop City' petition drive

A federal court judge is doubling down on his ruling last month in favor of those campaigning to stop the construction of Atlanta’s public safety training center.

U.S. District Court Judge Mark H. Cohen’s earlier decision allows non-Atlanta residents to participate in a petition drive to order a referendum on what opponents call “Cop City.” That decision also extends the deadline to collect the necessary signatures.

Court records show the City of Atlanta filed an appeal, arguing that the court did not have the power to rewrite the state statute and city ordinance to do that.

But on Monday, Aug. 14, Cohen again sided with opponents of the training center and denied the city’s appeal.

Cohen said it would be the citizens and not the city who would suffer irreparable harm by not allowing them to participate in the effort.

As the decision came down, opponents of the center protested in front of Fulton County Courthouse, where crowds have gathered this week in anticipation of an indictment against former President Donald Trump.

Organizers say they have already collected 80,000 signatures to qualify for a referendum. The initial goal was 70,000 signatures, or 15% of Atlanta’s registered voters as of the last election.

They intend to now deliver 100,000 signatures to City Hall on Monday, Aug. 21.