2024 Symposium: Stop Cop City and the Criminalization of Social Movements

This symposium is about the repression of Stop Cop City itself, how to situate it in Georgia, in our contemporary moment, and in relation to the permanent crises of criminal courts. The symposium consists of three panels comprised of organizers, legal practitioners, and activist scholars with a keynote speech by Associate Professor Zohra Ahmed, Boston University School of Law.

About Stop Cop City

In September 2021, the Atlanta City Council passed legislation to destroy hundreds of acres of land in the Weelaunee Forest in Atlanta. The land is intended to be the site of a massive, $90 million police training facility which not only would provide militarized police training but also a mock city to practice urban warfare. The site is in a majority Black area of DeKalb County, on land that was once stolen from Muscogee people. The land was also once the location of the Old Atlanta Prison Farm, where incarcerated Black laborers were later forced to work. Despite being wildly unpopular with Atlanta residents, Atlanta’s leadership is forcing the plan through anyway.

A broad movement has formed to defend the forest against destruction. Not only have individuals moved into the forest as defenders, but other community groups have mobilized in protest. In September 2023, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr filed indictments against 61 people targeted for allegedly being part of the movement to #StopCopCity. The indictments aim to quell the growing, massive public movement to bring an end to the construction of a military police training facility in the Atlanta Forest, and to use RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), domestic terrorism and money laundering charges to portray a popular movement as an unlawful conspiracy.

-Text by Brooklyn Law School, Law and Political Economy Chapter

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Friday, February 16th
9:00 AM

Welcome and Introductory Remarks

Maleah Bradley, Editor-in-Chief, Cardozo Journal of Equal Rights and Social Justice
Sean Dalton, Executive Editor, Cardozo Journal of Equal Rights and Social Justice
Emma Guggenheimer, Managing Editor, Cardozo Journal of Equal Rights and Social Justice

Third Floor Lounge

9:00 AM - 9:30 AM

9:30 AM

Panel 1: Future of Stop Cop City

Kamau Franklin, Community Movement Builders
Micah Herskind, Harvard Law School
Moira Meltzer-Cohen
Devin Franklin, Southern Center for Human Rights
Kate Levine, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Third Floor Lounge

9:30 AM - 11:00 AM

11:10 AM

Panel 2: Cop City is Everywhere

Alex Marquardt, Climate Defense Project
Percilla Frizzell, Sacred Generations
Edwin Stevenson, Firestarters
Nicholas Fesette, Emory University
Talia Rothstein, Yale Law School

Third Floor Lounge

11:10 AM - 12:30 PM

1:00 PM

Keynote Speech

Zohra Ahmed, Boston University School of Law

Third Floor Lounge

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

2:15 PM

Panel 3: Criminalizing Protest and Collective Care

Jocelyn Simonson, Brooklyn Law School

Third Floor Lounge

2:15 PM - 3:00 PM