The Movement To Stop “Cop City”
Less than two weeks after Atlanta police fatally shot an environmental activist, officials held a news conference to announce they are moving forward with plans to build a massive police and firefighter training center. Protesters have dubbed the $90 million Atlanta Public Safety Training Center “Cop City.”
Plans to build the training center have met with opposition from the local community and out-of-staters. Trees would be felled, undermining the citys efforts to save its tree canopy and increasing the risk of flooding. Others oppose the center for its practice of “urban warfare” and its proximity to poor and majority-Black neighborhoods. The Atlanta Police and Fire Chiefs claim the center will replace substandard trainings and boost morale. The police department especially has had difficulty hiring and retaining officers.
The January 31 news conference came nearly two weeks after the January 18 police killing of an activist known as Tortuguita, after officials claimed that the 26-year-old shot a state trooper. Officers said they fired in self-defense, but protesters question the police narrative, noting the lack of body camera footage of the shooting. Joining us to talk about Stop Cop City and the national epidemic of police violence is Kamau Franklin.
Guest – Kamau Franklin is a former practicing attorney from New York, the founder of the national grassroots organization Community Movement Builders, and co-host of the podcast Renegade Culture.
No Equal Justice: The Legacy of Civil Rights
Professor Peter Hammer is the Director of the Damon J Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State Law School, and has long been a strong advocate for shining light on the intersection of race, class, power and the law. He has published scores of articles and books covering such critical issues as the Flint Water Crisis, the Detroit Future Cities, healthcare, education, racism and capitalism, among others.
What brings us here today is that he and his colleague, Professor Emeritus Edward Littlejohn, recently wrote a critically acclaimed book No Equal Justice: The Legacy of Civil Rights Icon George W. Crockett Jr, just released in 2022. This book tells the amazing story of George W. Crockett and his trailblazing life. He was the grandson of a slave and son of a carpenter. Crockett became the only Black graduate of University of Michigan Law School in 1934, the first Black man to work as a staff attorney for the United Auto Workers in the 1940s, the first Black law partner in the first integrated law firm in the country in the 1950s, one of the first Black men to be elected as a judge on Detroits criminal court in the 1960s, and the oldest African American ever elected to the U.S. Congress.
He was also, along with Ernie Goodman and Maurice Sugar, one of the founders of the National Lawyers Guild, the first integrated bar association in the country, in which he played a critical role during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, including the creation of the NLG Committee to Assist Southern Lawyers.
Hosted by Attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Marjorie Cohn and Julie Hurwitz