Mayor Andre Dickens sent a message on Wednesday to "Stop Cop City" protesters and “anarchists” who continue to commit arson, damage property, and trespass: “Newsflash: The training center is well on its way. We will continue and complete it this year. Construction is happening on the site every day.”

Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum echoed the mayor’s sentiments following another string of incidents in protest of the Atlanta public safety training center under construction on a piece of city-owned property in South DeKalb County.

Schierbaum said Stop Cop City protesters claimed responsibility for breaking into APD’s mounted patrol facility, cutting a fence, and luring one horse into the roadway where it could have been hit by a vehicle.

“Those horses patrol our parks, protect the Atlanta Pride Parade and the Peachtree Road Race, and keep the city safe daily,” Schierbaum said.

The chief said protesters were also actively encouraging others to identify “vulnerable” police facilities and come up with creative ways to attack them.

Schierbaum said an investigation is also underway in Fayette County after equipment was set on fire Tuesday morning at a Brasfield & Gorrie construction site. Brasfield & Gorrie is one of the companies constructing the training center and its work sites have become a frequent target of protesters.

“These anarchists are trying to degrade the city’s safety. Individuals using fear and fire will be held accountable,” Schierbaum said surrounded by representatives from ATF and the FBI.

The chief said a $200,000 reward is still available for information leading to the arrest of individuals who have set arson fires related to the training center.

Dickens said damage caused by protesters is more than $10 million, including construction equipment owned by private companies and police vehicles.

The mayor referenced the two protesters who locked themselves to the top of a Midtown construction crane earlier this month. “They were up there protesting the very departments required to get them down, so the irony here can’t be missed,” he said.

“They do not want Atlanta to have safety,” Dickens said. “They do not want metro Atlanta to have safety. They do not care about peace or about our communities. These acts of destruction must end. They must stop.”

Opponents of the training center collected more than 100,000 signatures last summer in an effort to get a referendum on the ballot to allow voters to decide the fate of the facility. A decision on whether the referendum can go forward has been mired in a federal appeals court since last fall.

Dickens said the training center will be operational by January 2025.

This story comes to GPB through an editorial partnership with Rough Draft Atlanta.