Aug 24, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Fulton Jail, neighborhood brace for Trump surrender

A person rides a bike past an entrance to the Fulton County Jail. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Atlanta's Fulton County Jail will cement its place in history on Thursday as former President Trump is expected to be booked there on election interference charges.

Why it matters: The national and historical implications of a president getting his mugshot taken are hard to count. But here in Atlanta, locals know the setting carries its own layers of meaning.

  • This event will take place in a jail that's under federal investigation for alleged civil rights abuses and has had several inmates die while in custody.
  • Fulton County's jail is also situated in Georgia's 5th Congressional District, which Trump once described as "falling apart" and "crime-infested."

Driving the news: Trump said earlier this week that he plans to surrender on Thursday afternoon, one day before the deadline he and 18 other defendants have to do so.

What to expect: The Fulton County Sheriff's Office will close down roadways surrounding the jail once Trump is in custody.

  • Fulton County Animal Services said on its website that it will not open its Marietta Boulevard location, which is near the jail, on Thursday.
  • Several of Trump's co-defendants have already been booked there, including Rudy Giuliani, Scott Hall, John Eastman, David Shafer, Sidney Powell, Cathy Latham, Ray Smith and Kenneth Chesebro, Axios' Ivana Saric reports.

Zoom in: The jail is also in Atlanta's Knight Park/Howell Station neighborhood, which generally is north of U.S. 78, east of Marietta Boulevard, south of W. Marietta Street and west of Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard.

  • In 2021, the neighborhood had 3,155 people, the majority of whom are Black, according to Atlanta Regional Commission data.
  • The median household income is $112,083.
  • Nearly 15% of its residents live in poverty.
  • 75% of its homes are owner-occupied while the rest house renters.

What they're saying: Arthur Toal, president of the Howell Station Neighborhood Association, said Trump's upcoming visit has been a "stressor" on internal neighborhood forums, but he and other board members are trying to "keep the focus on things that actually impact people in day-to-day life," such as how road closures will affect their commutes.

  • He also told Axios that City Council member Byron Amos' office has been in regular contact with the neighborhood and keeping residents abreast of the situation at the jail.
  • "People aren't sure what it's going to look like on Thursday," Toal said.

Toal told Axios that more media trucks and personnel have descended onto the streets surrounding the jail since last week's indictment was released, but nothing has been disruptive to people who live in the neighborhood.

  • However, Toal said there are some concerns about how many people who aren't members of the media will heed the former president's call and gather for a protest at the jail.

The bottom line: Toal said he's concerned about making sure his neighbors are safe and experience little disruption. But on a personal note, he can't help but marvel at his community's role in history.

  • "Everybody expects there'll be a mugshot of Donald Trump and to know that that picture…was taken a couple hundred yards from my house is kind of a surreal feeling."
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