No longer able to confront Tennessee legislators at the state capitol, Vanderbilt Divinity School student and left-wing activist Justin Jones now badgers them at restaurants as they try to eat.
Last week Jones uploaded a Facebook video of himself and an unidentified woman as they lectured State Rep. Justin Lafferty, R-Knoxville, State Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, and three unidentified men about school vouchers and Medicaid.
Jones said in his post that he approached these men at a restaurant in north Nashville, which he did not name.
The unidentified woman held the camera and spoke some. The woman used various profanities while addressing the men.
Authorities arrested Jones earlier this year for allegedly throwing a cup of coffee at Tennessee Speaker of the House Glen Casada at the state capitol. As The Tennessee Star reported, authorities banned Jones from the state capitol and from having further contact with Casada because of that alleged incident.
As for what happened last week, Jones said the following on his personal Facebook page:
“We were sitting in a restaurant when Rep. Micah Van Huss and other representatives walked in to eat. As they joked about that morning’s vote which passed their controversial voucher bill (diverting funds from public education)- we could not be silent,” Jones wrote.
“During the video encounter, Rep. Van Huss had already gotten up and told the employees in the restaurant to ask us to leave. They heard what we were discussing, ignored him, and let us stay. This is our collective power when we reclaim it in our communities- extreme politicians are left powerless. We may never be able to change their minds. That’s how arrogance works especially for men so drunk with power. But we can expose them, shift consciousness, and with organizing we can change them out of public office.”
Jones then wrote “let’s just have an uprising.”
Van Huss did not respond to The Star’s request for comment Tuesday.
Lafferty, in an emailed statement, suggested Jones doctored certain parts of his video.
“They edited the part where he had to admit he was arrested and banned from the capital for throwing a cup of coffee at the speaker. They also edited the part where they said they will harass us whenever and where ever they can,” Lafferty told The Star.
“The video shows pretty clearly how they implied we were racist. It does not reflect the hostility they had toward us. The young woman’s language and demeanor were shown. But what was not shown was the number of times she glared at us and cursed us.”
In the video, Van Huss said Jones didn’t understand what he was talking about, and he refused to answer Jones’ questions and told him “you assaulted our speaker.”
To that, Jones said “your speaker assaulted me.”
The woman behind the camera then spoke.
“A cup. A cup. It was a Styrofoam cup. The sh*t that you guys are doing every f*ck*ng day, that’s violence against the people,” the woman said.
“It’s f*ck*ng violence against the people. A cup is not the issue here. It’s not the issue.”
Jones then instructed her to get video of the men as they tried to eat. Van Huss, however, was standing up during the video and appeared to capture his own video of Jones.
“Each of these white men here are assaulting Tennesseans when they deny Medicaid expansion,” Jones said.
“We have people who die here every day in Tennessee.”
Van Huss then asked “what is the purpose of calling us white?”
“You’re the racist here. Nobody at this table mentioned your race,” Van Huss told Jones.
“You mentioned our race. You are the racist.”
Jones then addressed the woman holding the camera and said Van Huss is someone who will “prey on our communities.”
On his Facebook page, Van Huss referenced the incident and said “leftists hate being called racist but always play the race card.”
As The Star reported, Jones has a court date pending for his alleged assault against Casada.
The beverage Jones allegedly threw also hit State Rep. Debra Moody, R-Covington.
Steve Hayslip, spokesman for Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk said Jones’ next court date for that alleged incident is scheduled for June 11.
Jones did not face any consequences for allegedly disrupting a Marsha Blackburn rally in Nashville last fall.
Judge Dianne Turner, a Democrat, dismissed Jones’ case in that matter in what authorities described as “a flat dismissal.”
Turner dismissed Jones’ case based on a discrepancy in the documents between the date of his arrest and the date of his subsequent warrant.
As The Star reported last fall, Jones’ own words in 2016 contradict his many claims he engages only in peaceful political protest.
Jones accepted an American Civil Liberties Union award in November 2016.
According to video of the event, which Jones’ grandmother posted on her personal Facebook page, Jones called upon young people to fight for liberty and justice.
“Young people and those who are young at heart, we have five words for you,” Jones said as he accepted the award.
“See you in the streets. We will disrupt. We will organize. We will shut down injustice. Know we will not normalize hatred in this country.”
Nashville Police arrested Jones in August 2017 during a vigil at Bicentennial Park to honor the counter-protester who was killed during the Charlottesville “United the Right” rally.
Four people, including Jones, left the park and marched to the nearby First Tennessee Park, home of the Nashville Sounds, the website went on to say.
Jones and the other three people tried to enter the park after a game ended, even though cops warned them not to. One of Jones’ companions reportedly resisted arrest. That suspect reportedly had marijuana, a grinder, and a small pipe in her purse. Another of Jones’ three friends purposefully tripped a police officer and later resisted arrest, the website said.
The website went on to say Jones “was told by police not to jump in front of moving marked police cars.”
Quoting from Jones’ arrest report, the website said he “then jumped in front of a moving patrol car causing a danger to himself and the action served no legitimate purpose.”
As The Tennessee Ledger reported in a glowing piece, Jones grew up in Oakland, Calif. a city well known for producing far-left fringe protesters.
Jones came to Nashville after receiving an endowed scholarship to study social justice and activism at Fisk University, The Ledger reported.
In February 2017, The Star reported Jones was among several local left-wing activists who harassed and intimidated State Sen. Mae Beavers and her staff at their offices at the State Capitol in Nashville.
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