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Understanding the Escalating Repression of the #StopCopCity Movement

Friday, June 16, 2023
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Event Type:
Panel Discussion
Location Details:
Online via Zoom
Register at
Live captioning provided

Fierce opposition to the proposed $90 million police training facility in Atlanta's Weelaunee Forest known as Cop City has resulted in a growing national movement connecting Indigenous, environmental, racial justice, youth, religious, and abolition activists. However, the strength and visibility of this movement has also resulted in extreme repression of activists and their supporters. Since December 2022, Georgia law enforcement have murdered environmental activist Manuel "Tortugita" Teran, brought domestic terrorism charges against protestors on the most spurious charges, denied bond for months to most of those arrested, and recently raided the home of and arrested three organizers with the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, a group providing needed legal support and connection to attorneys.

Join the NLG for a conversation with movement attorneys Kamau Franklin, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, and Don Samuel moderated by Atlanta-based journalist Hannah Riley. In this webinar, panelists will discuss the implications of the legal issues related to the #StopCopCity movement, including use of domestic terrorism charges, the criminalization of legal support such as legal hotlines and bond funds, and the potential for RICO charges against political activists.

Friday, June 16
7 - 8:30 PM ET / 4 - 5:30 PM PT


Kamau Franklin is the founder of Community Movement Builders, Inc. Kamau has been a dedicated community organizer for over thirty years, beginning in New York City and now based in Atlanta. For 18 of those years, Kamau was a leading member of a national grassroots organization dedicated to the ideas of self-determination and the teachings of Malcolm X. He has spearheaded organizing work in various areas including youth organizing and development, police misconduct, and the development of sustainable urban communities. Kamau has coordinated and led community cop-watch programs, liberation/freedom schools for youth, electoral and policy campaigns, large-scale community gardens, organizing collectives and alternatives to incarceration programs. Kamau was an attorney for ten years in New York with his own practice in criminal, civil rights and transactional law. He now lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and two children.

Moira Meltzer-Cohen is an educator, attorney, and abolitionist, serving overlapping communities of activists, queers, and prisoners. Mo's work includes criminal defense, particularly for those arrested in the course of justice struggles; representation of witnesses before federal grand juries; and advocacy for those seeking gender affirming and other necessary (but often withheld) health care while in prison. They provide legal support and education for social movement groups working toward collective liberation, people in communities targeted by law enforcement, and other attorneys seeking to learn more about the substance and culture of representing radicals.

Don Samuel is a partner at the Atlanta-based law firm Garland, Samuel, and Loeb. Prior to law school, he was a community organizer in southeast Georgia focusing on voting rights and fair housing rights. He is past-President of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (GACDL) and a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). He is currently an adjunct professor of law at Georgia State University and has published extensively on Georgia criminal procedure and law, RICO, and the 4th Amendment. Don has been listed in Best Lawyers in America every year since 1993. He was awarded the Rees Smith Lifetime Achievement Award by the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in 2014, one of only five lawyers in Georgia to win this award in the past twenty years.

This panel will be moderated by Hannah Riley, a writer and activist based in Atlanta and the Director of Programming at the Center for Just Journalism.

Accessibility: CART captioning will be provided for this webinar. If there are other features that would make this webinar accessible to you, please indicate so in the "Access Needs" field below. If you have any questions related to accessibility, please email our Communications Director at communications [at]
Added to the calendar on Mon, Jun 12, 2023 10:42PM
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