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Graffiti is seen at the edge of Weelaunee People's Park, the planned site of a controversial "Cop City" project, days after protestor Manuel Teran died during a police raid, near Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., January 21, 2023. REUTERS/Cheney Orr
Something disgusting is happening in Atlanta right now. And we really can’t blame white folk, or conservatives, or Trump.

It’s actually Black elected officials, from the majority Black city council, to the Black Mayor, Andre Dickens, pushing COP CITY in Atlanta.

I love Atlanta.
My whole family lives there.
My mother is there.
Kids. Nieces. Nephews.

I want the city to be safe.

But it’s not just a lie to think that COP CITY will make Atlanta safer. It takes precious money that could ACTUALLY make the city safer – and sets it on fire.

Black people deserve safe communities. Let’s simply start there as a place of agreement, OK?

The thing is – the safest blocks in America, the safest neighborhoods, the safest communities ARE NOT SWARMING WITH POLICE.

In fact, they are nearly invisible in those places.

When Black folk begin to speak out for safer neighborhoods, something nefarious happens, and has happened for GENERATIONS…

When everyday Black folk demand safety, MORE POLICE, and more MONEY for POLICE, are presented as the PRIMARY SOLUTIONS.

Fundamentally, it’s a scam.

RIGHT NOW – think of the safest neighborhood in your entire city.

Now think of the “safest side of town.”

Are those places safe because police are on every corner?


Those places are safe because of wealth, income, jobs, health, education, housing, and opportunity.

In the safest communities and cities in America, they also tend to have:

  • The highest average income
  • The lowest unemployment
  • The highest performing schools
  • Wonderful hospitals with doctors galore
  • Treatment for mental health and addiction issues


So when Atlantan’s started demanding a safer city, the Atlanta Police Foundation, a notoriously conservative and horrible group, swooped in and basically said: Build our police department an entire fake city and compound to train, and we will make the city safer.

It’s bullshit.

Atlanta actually has the LARGEST income inequality gap of ANY CITY IN AMERICA.

It’s not even close.


It’s harder to escape poverty in Atlanta than any other city in America.

Studies have traced countless families trapped in DEEP poverty all the way back to slavery.

No single fact makes Atlanta more unsafe than seemingly inescapable poverty.

COP CITY doesn’t solve this.

Atlanta just closed down one of its busiest hospitals and has fewer hospital beds and operating rooms per capita than it has had in generations.


Want to make Atlanta safe?

I do.

We do that by flooding the most impoverished communities with well-paying jobs.

We do that by interrupting generational poverty and despair.

We do that by massive investments in affordable housing…

Not by building an outrageous COP CITY.

I’m actually deeply embarrassed by the elected officials that are defending it.

And worse?

I’m embarrassed by the silence of so many of Atlanta’s cultural heroes and celebrities that have basically chosen proximity to power, and open access to elected officials, over deep meaningful change.

We need to choose deep meaningful change.

Love and appreciate you,


Shaun King