The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) announced Tuesday night that it removed protesters’ extra equipment from the Legislative Plaza after these individuals failed to comply with an agreement made between the two sides.
These protesters have been camping out at the plaza for the last 12 nights. In a makeshift CHOP, these demonstrators renamed the plaza the Ida B. Wells Plaza, who was an early civil rights leader.
When organizers started this protest on June 12, they asked for “government officials to defund and demilitarize the police, remove what they call racist statues, and fire Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson.”
Eventually, Anderson decided to retire in six months after facing pressure from left-wing activists and Metro Council members.
According to the THP press release, protesters violated an agreement made Monday that said they were only allowed to have two tents at the plaza to protect themselves from the elements. When THP returned the next day, the protesters added additional tents and items to the plaza.
After troopers said they were in violation of their agreement, the protesters removed the extra tents and items when asked. But, later on Tuesday, the protesters eventually returned the additional tents and items back to the plaza.
When the THP saw the protesters had defied its orders again, it took action.
“This [Tuesday] evening, troopers once again addressed the protestors and read them TCA 39-14-414 and then removed the unauthorized items. The items consisted of wood pallet signs, tarps, tents, sleeping bags, chairs and bags of clothing,” the THP press release says.
No citations were issued and no one was arrested, according to THP.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol has issued a press release on today's events at Legislative Plaza at the Tennessee State Capitol.
— TN Highway Patrol (@TNHighwayPatrol) June 24, 2020
Left-wing activist Justin Jones, who has been apart of the protest since the beginning, said the troopers “set” them up.
“Troopers stormed the plaza and took everything throwing it in a truck. Taking clothing, medication, food, and personal items,” he said. “Pushing people back and assaulting those who tried to save their belongings. Gov. Bill Lee this is madness. #FreeCapitolHillTN.”
It was a set up. Troopers stormed the plaza and took everything throwing it in a truck. Taking clothing, medication, food, and personal items. Pushing people back and assaulting those who tried to save their belongings. @GovBillLee this is madness. #FreeCapitolHillTN pic.twitter.com/Q3JDNLGHhJ
— Justin Jones (@brotherjones_) June 23, 2020
Furthermore, Jones accused THP Sergeant John Grinder on Tuesday of assaulting a woman, which the THP denies.
“Today, an allegation was made that a Trooper assaulted three protestors on Legislative Plaza. That allegation is false and is completely fabricated to fit the narrative of the protestors,” THP said in a statement. Our troopers have performed admirably throughout the entirety of the protest events and have conducted themselves as true professionals while subjected to verbal abuse and completely unreasonable conduct such as threats to our Troopers’ families. Our Troopers are paid and are expected to endure the verbal abuse perpetrated by the protestors, however the conduct of the protestors today crossed the line and is in no way peaceful.
As of Wednesday, Jones and a hand full of people are still protesting in the Legislative Plaza.
“286 hours of holding this space in Ida B. Wells Plaza. THE PLAZA BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE, AND WE NOT GONNA STOP UNTIL WE’RE EQUAL. Gov. Bill Lee stop hiding. Come talk to your constituents and take action on systemic racism,” Jones said.
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Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Star News Digital Media. If you have any tips, email Zachery at [email protected] Follow Zachery on Twitter @zacheryschmidt2.
Photo “Tennessee Highway Patrol Removing Protesters’ Equipment” by Justin Jones.