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‘We Have to Oppose with All Our Might’: Angela Davis Returns Award to Atlanta City Council In Protest Against Mega Police Training Complex ‘Cop City’

Angela Davis says she now regrets receiving an official proclamation from the Atlanta City Council because of its position on the “Cop City” public safety complex project.

The prominent activist says she will return the honor in protest of the council’s support “of a massive, militarized police training facility.”

On March 24, Davis was tasked to deliver the keynote address at the 20th Annual Walter Rodney Symposium held on Morehouse College’s campus at the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel. While there, Atlanta Councilman Jason Dozier bestowed on her an official proclamation as a part of the planned ceremony.

NEW YORK, NY – JULY 31: American political activist, academic and author Angela Davis reads a statement during NPR Music’s Turning the Tables Live: The Motherlode as part of the Lincoln Center Out of Doors summer concert series at Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center on July 31, 2019, in New York City. (Photo by Sean Drakes/Getty Images)

Now, according to a video statement, the freedom fighter wishes she would have declined the recognition.

“I did not consider the implications of my acceptance of the award at the time, given the fact that the City Council voted in favor of the construction of a massive militarized police training facility in the South River Forest,” Davis said.

Davis said her place is to stand with the protesters fighting against the construction of the $90 million public safety training center in DeKalb County.

Davis said she regrets that she did not use that symposium in honor of the Guyanese political activist to add her voice “to the rising chorus of demands to ‘Stop Cop City.’”

“In the first place, if the attempts by the Atlanta police to build the largest police training grounds in the country are successful, this will represent a major setback for the movement for radical democratic futures … not only throughout the U.S. but globally,” the professor stated, who reminded viewers she has fought against causes like this “for far longer than a half-century,” she said.

Davis said she wanted to “salute all those who are involved in the “Stop Cop City Movement” and urges others “to find ways to generate support for them.”

The project has drawn criticism from environmental activists and local historically Black college and university students. Environmentalists argued that the project could harm the natural vegetation where the property lies. Black college students worry it could militarize the police.

The world-renowned political activist said it is “an especially important time to speak out against organized police racism and repression and the destruction of our planet” and added that the project is “dangerous” and “ominous.”

“We have to oppose with all our might,” Davis said.

The Walter Rodney Symposium released a statement in support of Davis’ decision.

The group explained that presenting a proclamation to guests is part of a tradition that “now requires further contemplation” and acknowledged Davis had no idea she was receiving the honor.

As Dozier, who is against building the facility, presented the proclamation, the audience started to chant “Stop Cop City.”

The councilman also relayed a message to his constituency, reaffirming to them that he is standing with them on this issue.

“It is in that same spirit of collaboration that I’ll continue to advocate for greater transparency and work to steer the city in a better direction. I certainly respect the stance of Dr. Davis and the WRF, and I look forward to working together to advance this work,” he said in an April 3 tweet.

Authorities claim protests at the construction site of the facility have left workers on the site in danger, CNN reports.

An area of the park where the training facility is proposed to be built has been shut down by executive order after county officials discovered “booby traps” hidden in various areas.

“They confiscated booby traps, boards with nails that were hidden by leaves and underbrush. You could kill a small child or a pet with those,” DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said. “It’s just not safe right now.”

Thurmond said he understands people are against the facility, but to set up potentially deadly traps, “is too far.”

As a part of the executive order, only people authorized will be allowed to enter the area. Should someone wander on the property, the mandate states, they will be subjected to prosecution for criminal trespass. Unauthorized vehicles parked in the area will also be towed and impounded by officers on sight.

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