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Morning Spew

Who Wants to Leave NYC for Cop City?

I tried to cover an Atlanta Police Department recruiting event, they wanted me to become a cop.

10:04 AM EDT on August 29, 2023

Saturday, the second day of the Atlanta Police Department's three-day NYC recruitment fair, was a bad day at work for the APD, as a group of activists showed up to disrupt their event. Footage from the disruption shows there honestly wasn't much to disrupt—a conference room in the New York Hilton Midtown with chairs far outnumbering the people present, who were filling out some kind of form on laptops as activists chant in the background, "Stop Cop City!" Outside the conference room, another clip shows a table strewn with raw shrimp that's covered in some kind of glistening yellow liquid, as a fire alarm trills and activists chant, "Viva viva Tortuguita," in honor of the Stop Cop City activist Manuel "Tortuguita" Terán, who was shot 57 times and killed by Georgia police officers in March.

The protest continued outside of the hotel, where activists banged drums, chanted, and waved a banner against a line of uniformed NYPD officers. 

"Get shrimped, nerds! On Saturday morning, in an homage to a recent action taken by Atlanta activists, some rowdy caterers dropped off a very smelly gift for the Atlanta Police Department in NYC," the activists behind the action wrote in a statement published on Twitter. "The Atlanta Police Department thought they could show up to our city unopposed, but they were wrong, Every time fascists come to NYC, they are fucking around and they *will* find out. We stand in solidarity with forest defenders everywhere when we say Cop City will never be built *anywhere*."

It's not the first time the APD has recruited in New York City—that's something police departments all over the country do on a pretty regular basis, through visits like the APD's or plain old subway ads. But this particular recruitment drive was well-timed for disruption as the Cop City situation in Atlanta continues to escalate—right now, activists are clashing with the city government as they attempt to get a referendum stopping Cop City on the ballot in November after two years of protesting, forest defense, and domestic terrorism charges lobbed at activists by the state government.

New York City was the eighth stop on the Atlanta Police Department's recruitment drive. The department has held three events in its own city so far this year, along with one each in Orlando, New Orleans, Chicago, and Detroit. 

By Sunday, when I stopped by the APD's recruitment event, the shrimp was all cleaned up. But from the looks of things, the event was still not particularly well-attended. I followed a trail of signs up an escalator and onto the cavernous, carpeted second floor of the Midtown Hilton, which was totally deserted except for a table with two bald men in suits, who were hunched over and looking at their cell phones. They turned out to be two representatives from the APD, who asked me if I was interested in becoming a police officer. When I said I was a reporter looking to speak to potential recruits, I was directed to a trio of women officers.

The women moved into the conference room to discuss how to handle my request. While they deliberated, one of the bald cops asked me where I worked, where I went to college, and whether I was sure I didn't want to be a police officer. When I said I didn't think I was up for the physical challenge (I was lying) he responded, "It's OK, we give you a gun for that."  

Eventually, the women officers emerged, introduced themselves, and politely let me know that while I absolutely couldn't speak to any potential recruits, I was welcome to email the APD's public information office and set up a Zoom call with the recruiters to discuss their mission, which one of them named as "finding people who still think policing is a worthwhile profession." 

Nobody mentioned the shrimp.

—Katie Way

Some links that do not smell like spoiled shrimp for your Tuesday morning: 

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