Since the last board meeting, a swarm of activism has grabbed hold in many American cities, demanding police stop unjustifiably killing black people. Some protesters want to de-fund police departments and abolish what they see as an unfair jail and prison system.
Realizing a jail expansion item was up for a vote, social media posts encouraged people to protest by submitted public comments and showing up outside the county's headquarters at 141 Pryor St. at noon on Wednesday.
Chairman Robb Pitts, left during the board meeting he was leading, to speak with what a county spokeswoman said were about 40 protesters outside. He was joined by Commissioner Natalie Hall, the spokeswoman said.
State Rep. Park Cannon, D-Atlanta said during public comment that she wanted jail “policies that are as kind to Fulton families as possible.”
READ | Fulton staff to stay at home longer, library damaged in protest
The county jail has needed more space for a while. An inmate's handwritten complaint triggered 11 years of federal oversight at the jail, where there were complaints of overcrowding, raw sewage flooding cells and inmates left to wander because of faulty locks.
There are no definite plans for the previously earmarked $23 million, but Pitts said he sent a letter to the county manager on May 26 outlining possible other uses for the money — including $10 million for community support items like meals for seniors.
Commissioner Lee Morris was the sole vote against denying the expansion, saying that by the time they know there’s an outbreak it’ll be too late.
“If that second wave comes and hits the jail, you all will regret not having made plans for that,” Morris said.
Commissioner Joe Carn, who has been the most vocal opponent of the jail expansion, responded: “I think we’re going to be OK, we’ll figure out another way.”
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