A left-wing activist out on bond for allegedly disrupting a Marsha Blackburn rally in Nashville last fall apparently disturbed the Tennessee capitol building Thursday and said House Speaker Glen Casada actually pushed him.
That activist, Justin Jones, has a history trying to obstruct Republican officials while they carry out their duties at the state capitol or at other Republican events.
Casada’s representatives told The Tennessean their boss did nothing wrong.
Jones, as reported, wants state officials to remove a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the state capitol building. He has documented his efforts on his personal Facebook page, including at least one group sit-in at Casada’s office this month.
Jones, on his Facebook page Thursday, uploaded a video that began with him arguing with a capitol staff member, demanding a meeting with Casada. Jones then saw Casada out of camera range and walked over to confront him.
“Casada, we’ve been trying to get a meeting with you,” the camera recorded Jones saying.
An unknown woman in a red coat blocked the camera’s point of view of whatever happened next between Jones and Casada, but during that time someone yelled “Don’t put your hands on him.”
As Jones and others followed Casada through the capitol hallways, Jones asked “Did you push me, Casada?”
Jones and the other people followed Casada into a private gathering where state troopers would not admit Jones. Those troopers had to grab Jones and pull him away from the front doors.
Jones then yelled at Casada “You are a racist. You treat people like they’re not people. Shame on you.”
Jones then tapped repeatedly on the door, demanding an audience with Casada. An unidentified woman on the video accused state troopers of assaulting Jones, something the troopers denied.
On his Facebook page, Jones continued to say Casada pushed him.
“The clash was that the Speaker of the House put his hands on us and pushed us aside. But if we put our hands on him we would be in jail right now. This is how white supremacy works,” Jones said.
“Since the session began we have followed all procedures they have put up to schedule a meeting with Speaker Glen Casada regarding concerns about the racist policies and symbols in the TN Capitol- but each attempt is refused. We are not protestors, we are citizens trying to meet with an elected official in a public building. We are students and Tennesseans. And we are tired of these games.”
The Tennessee Star asked Nashville District Attorney General Glenn R. Funk if Jones’ apparent physical aggressiveness toward Casada is enough to revoke his bond for allegedly disrupting last fall’s Blackburn rally.
Funk spokesman Stephen Hayslip, in an emailed statement Thursday, said an unidentified assistant district attorney viewed Jones’ latest video.
“He said at this point, no request for bond revocation is deemed necessary,” Hayslip said.
“His comment to me was that he saw ‘No specific bond violations at this point. If new charges are filed, we would reconsider.”
Jones’ preliminary hearing in the Blackburn matter is scheduled for next month, Hayslip said.