Activists protested against the planned pubic safety training center at Atlanta City Hall on May 15. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)

Offices and departments at Atlanta City Hall will be closed for in-person business on Monday, June 5, as the city council prepares to vote on funding the controversial public safety training center.

A press released issued by the city cited “increased security concerns” and said city hall services will still be available online.

Activists, who have dubbed the project “Cop City,” have called for a protest at city hall starting at 12:30 p.m. During the May 15 meeting, activists chanted in the city hall atrium and delivered more than seven hours of public comment on the issue.

The planned city council meeting will go ahead at 1 p.m. and open to the public. There will be an be a ban on any kind of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes from being carried into  city hall.

Medications and Infant nourishments are exempt from this prohibition, and water will be provided free of charge.

The council is expected to approve a total of $31 million in funding for the training center, which will be located on a city-owned piece of property in DeKalb County known as South River Forest.

In related news, three “Cop City” activists who were arrested May 31 and charged with money laundering and charities fraud were granted bond on Friday by a magistrate court judge, according to a report from the Associated Press/GPB News.

The three charged – Adele MacLean, 42, Marlon Scott Kautz, 39, and Savannah Patterson, 30 – lead the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, which provides bail money and attorney fees for “Cop City” protesters.

Fulton County Magistrate Court Judge James Altman set bond at $15,000 each and said questioned the evidence presented by Deputy Attorney General John Fowler.

“There’s not a lot of meat on the bones of thousands of dollars going to fund illegal activities,” Altman said.

The warrants for MacLean, Kautz and Patterson allege they committed fraud by misleading contributors and using the funds to support Defend the Atlanta Forest, which has been classified as a group of “violent extremists” by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Fowler said money collected had been used to fund violent acts on Georgia’s Department of Public Safety headquarters in July 2020, vandalism at Ebenezer Baptist Church in January 2022, and protests related to the planned training center that turned violent.

U.S. Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock both said via social media they were concerned about the arrests and possible infringement on free speech.

“These tactics, coupled with the limited public information provided so far, can have a chilling effect on nonviolent, constitutionally-protected free speech activities those of us in the fight for justice have been engaged in for years,” Warnock wrote.

“It is imperative that the response of government to the violent few not intimidate or infringe on the Constitutional rights of those engaged in nonviolent protest and civil disobedience,” Ossoff said in his statement.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.