Atlanta to release copies of ‘Stop Cop City’ petitions, even as referendum is stuck in legal limbo

ATLANTA — Atlanta’s city government will scan and release copies of petitions against a proposed police and firefighter training center, even though the city still isn’t verifying voter signatures or otherwise moving forward with the citywide referendum sought by “Stop Cop City” activists.

The Atlanta City Council voted 15-0 on Monday to direct the city clerk to scan petitions that referendum proponents say contain 116,000 signatures from voters, which would be twice the number required to call the vote under state law.

Opponents of the $90 million, 85-acre (34-hectare) project hope that releasing the signatures and showing they are valid will build political pressure on the city to stop fighting the referendum — or encourage City Council members to bypass the signature process and to place the referendum on the ballot anyway. City lawyers have argued the council doesn’t have the power to set a referendum without a valid petition.

Mayor Andre Dickens and city officials have argued that the petition drive can’t legally cancel a lease that the city signed with the private Atlanta Police Foundation to build and run the complex, calling the challenge “futile” and “invalid.”

Legal limbo only intensified last week. Organizers who delivered boxes of signed petitions on Sept.

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