This weekend, citizens from across the state gathered at Nashville’s Legislative Plaza Sunday to support law enforcement, but not without sparring verbally with left-wing protestors — the same protestors who have occupied that space for weeks.
Pro-police demonstrators formally called their event “The Back the Badge Rally.”
Left-wing protestors shouted profanities against both the police and U.S. President Donald Trump.
But folks on the other side of the plaza held signs saying how much they supported police. They waved American flags. They sang “Bad Boys,” the theme to the television show COPS. They asked drivers passing by to wave if they too appreciated law enforcement.
And, unlike the people on the opposite end of the plaza, none of the pro-police demonstrators announced they were permanently occupying the property.
Nor would they rename it.
Tennessee Highway Patrol officers, who have jurisdiction over Legislative Plaza, arrested people.
“The preliminary information that I have is that, yes, 38 protest individuals were arrested and or cited,” said THP spokesman Bill Miller in an email to The Tennessee Star.
“They were all from the protest group, not from the Back the Badge group.”
Miller did not provide additional details about the people that THP officers arrested.
According to a Facebook description of the event, organizers “want to stand with our amazing law enforcement and public servants so that we can find solutions to the important issues facing our State TOGETHER.”
As The Star reported last week, Back the Badge organizer Chase Matheson described his motivation. As a son of a former police officer, Matheson said he felt it was important that law enforcement know they have the community’s support.
“After seeing what happened in Atlanta and worrying about a friend of mine that lives very close to where some of the blue flu is going around. I was speaking to my dad who was an officer in England many lifetimes ago. And after the riots in 1981, he said he didn’t sign up for that. And he quit the police force after a couple of years,” Matheson said.
“He had been in the police force for a couple of years and [after] having a flaming couch thrown off a high rise at him and some of his fellow officers he decided he was going to look for a different career. He moved halfway around the world and came to America. So, I already knew from a few years ago when I lived in downtown how short we were on officers.”
Matheson also said he remembered calling the police once for a fraud charge at a cash loan company where he once worked.
“It took about three hours for an officer to show up. So Nashville is not in the position to lose any more officers. And I know after having watched the news for the past month that it would be hard to get any decent people to sign up to be an officer right now.”
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