Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) revealed that it would be adopting a “heightened security posture” at the State Capitol on Inauguration Day. MNPD informed the Metropolitan Council of these measures less than a week after the Capitol Hill riot took place.
In a copy of the letter obtained The Tennessee Star, Chief of Police John Drake informed the council that several unique protests would occur leading up to and on Inauguration Day. He reassured them that there wasn’t any “indication of an imminent threat of violence or danger.”
“It is important that you know that the MNPD is remaining in contact with our state and federal partners to ensure that the rights of citizens to hold peaceful rallies and protests are protected, but do not cross into violating the law,” read the letter. “The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be very visible on Capitol grounds to maintain public safety and ensure property is not damaged. Our department will be monitoring any activities at the Capitol and elsewhere. We will have officers on stand-by with the same aforementioned mission: maintain public safety and protect property.”
In addition to a potential Inauguration Day protest congregated by supporters of President Trump, Drake added that they’d identified two other protests at the State Capitol: a social justice protest on Tuesday and a rally on Sunday called the “Tennessee Freedom Event” at the State Capitol.
Members present at Tuesday’s protest wore Black Lives Matter (BLM) shirts. They demanded “healthcare for all Tennesseans,” “immediate and innovative funding” for the unemployed, and the adoption of the Justice for Breonna Taylor Act and BREATHE Act. As for Sunday’s protest, the events page now reads that the event has been deleted from the source website.
The Star inquired with the MNPD whether they’d relied on intelligence gathered from social media, tips from the public, rally organizers, or a combination of the three to determine the extent and nature of the protests. MNPD spokespersons could only tell The Star that they’d relied on public knowledge and some internal sources.
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