The dispute over Atlanta's police training center heated up this week.
After nearly 300 training center protesters packed an Atlanta City Council meeting, AJC columnist Bill Torpy derided the group. Torpy's been a consistent proponent of the training center, which has received funding from the newspaper's ownership.
The newspaper gave muted coverage to the massive protest, running a story inside, with limited quotes from the large number of speakers. The article emphasized Council President Doug Shipman's exasperation with the unruly group.
Defying the protesters' threats of electoral defeat, the city council again approved spending $30 million for the training center. The rest of the $90 million cost would be covered by the nonprofit Atlanta Police Foundation.
Plans to build the training center in a wooded area in South DeKalb County has drawn heated opposition from environmentalists and anti-police groups, who for months camped out at the site. A young protester was killed in a shootout with police, and a number of protesters have been charged with "domestic terrorism."
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens stepped up the campaign in support of the training center with an AJC op-ed piece. Dickens again argued that the Atlanta police and fire departments desperately need a state-of-the art training center, which the city now lacks. Dickens said the training center would improve the police department's interactions with the public.
Answering environmentalists who say that the training center would ruin the South River's wilderness, Dickens said 300 acres would be preserved. The city over the years has used the site as a prison farm and firing range.
While the Atlanta newspaper has given the training center uproar adequate if fitful news coverage, Torpy and the AJC's intermittent editorial department have staunchly supported the plan. Training center opponents have not been granted space to express their views.
The Guardian, the Intercept and other news sites have been largely sympathetic to the protesters and critical of the police crackdown that ended the encampment at the site. Locally, the Saporta Report's John Ruch has given more complete coverage to the controversy than the AJC.
It's regrettable that Atlanta's monopoly newspaper hasn't given its readers a full range of views on the training center.