Cop City protest: Activists lock down builder’s office in Charlotte


Climate activists chained themselves to the doors of a Charlotte office building on Friday morning to protest a construction company’s role in a new Atlanta police station in a forest.

Other protesters locked the doors of the Morehead Street building with bicycle locks, then fled in a black Honda CR-V as security approached, according to video provided to The Charlotte Observer.

Members of Defend the Atlanta Forest want to Brasfield and Gorrie to cancel his contract with the city of Atlanta. The Birmingham, Alabama-based company has an office in Charlotte in the Dilworth Building.

Stop Cop City Poster
On Friday, protesters left a poster that read “Stop Cop City. Drop the Contract” on the doors of an office building in Charlotte Climate activists want construction company Brasfield & Gorrie to end its contract with Atlanta for a police training center in a forest home to a tribe native.

Atlanta contracted Brasfield & Gorrie to build an 88-acre police training facility in the South River, which runs through the Weelaunee Forestancestral home of Muscogee Creek Tribe, according to reports.

Critics of the Atlanta police facility dubbed the project “cop city.”

Employees of the Brasfield & Gorrie office in Charlotte referred questions to the Birmingham headquarters. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from an observer.

The protesters, dressed in black, jumped out of the SUV around 7:45 a.m., William Smith, a parking lot employee at the building, told the Observer. They separated on both sides of the building, carrying signs and bicycle locks, he said.

First they locked the front door and the main entrance. Then two protesters chained themselves to the front and back doors by their necks, Smith said.

A security guard at the front of the building forced the protesters to leave, he said. The SUV circled the back to pick up other protesters, video shows.

Bike locks
On Friday, climate activists used security locks to prevent people from entering a Charlotte office building. William Smith

By the time Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrived, the protesters were gone.

Protesters left signs on doors reading “STOP COP CITY. DROP THE CONTRACT”, and “WE ARE HUMAN”, “VOTE” and “STOP FICASM”.

A larger group of protesters staged a demonstration in Brasfield & Gorrie offices on June 30, QCityMetro reported.

“We are in a climate crisis that threatens all of us, especially black and Indigenous people,” activist Haley Pinto said in a press release announcing the protest Friday morning. “Destroying 300 acres of the nation’s largest urban forest to build a militarized police training center will exacerbate this crisis.”

The CMPD said it had no written report on the protest.

On Friday, protesters from Defend the Atlanta Forest taped a “Stop Facism” poster next to a door of a Charlotte office building. William Smith

This story was originally published July 23, 2022 7:00 a.m.

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Charlotte Kramon is a subway news intern for the Charlotte Observer. Originally from Los Angeles, she is a rising junior studying public policy and political journalism and media studies (PJMS) at Duke University. She also covers local politics at the 9th Street Journal.

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