Protesters, reporter released after second round of arrests on plaza

Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 11:51am
By Steven Hale

Tennessee state troopers just after midnight Friday arrested 26 people, including a Nashville Scene reporter, in an overnight “curfew enforcement” at Legislative Plaza.

It was the second straight night of arrests at the plaza, which has been the site of Occupy Nashville protests for four weeks.

Saturday morning, the state Department of Safety and Homeland Security announced that 72 troopers had “removed 26 protesters who refused to leave” the plaza after they were given 10 minutes to do so.

Not mentioned in the state’s release was that the 26 people arrested included a working member of the press, Scene reporter Jonathan Meador, who was apprehended while attempting to leave the plaza.

He was held despite being identified by himself and others as a journalist there to cover the protests.

State officials Friday said that Gov. Bill Haslam had approved the state’s new policy and its enforcement. He later publicly defended the policy to several media outlets and signaled that enforcement of the policy would continue.

In an email to Haslam’s office Saturday morning, SouthComm Inc. CEO Chris Ferrell said, “I expect the Governor to publicly apologize to him for this violation of his rights and to assure the people of Tennessee that this administration will not interfere with the right to a free press that has been a fundamental right in the country since our founding."

Ferrell continued, “I’m sure you understand that every media outlet in this country will vigorously defend our right to cover government action without fear of arrest or reprisal.”

SouthComm publishes both the Nashville Scene and The City Paper.

After the arrests, the group was put on a bus and taken to the Davidson County Jail.

There, Metro Night Court Judge Tom Nelson — who was also on duty for Thursday morning’s arrests — again ordered the immediate release of those who had been arrested, denying troopers’ warrant requests and rejecting the legality of the state’s newly imposed curfew.

“I have reviewed the regulations of the state of Tennessee,” he said, before a room crowded with protesters and media, “and I can find no authority anywhere for anyone to authorize a curfew anywhere on Legislative Plaza.”

At that point, troopers issued the group citations for criminal trespassing. According to the Safety Department release, two protesters were also charged with public intoxication and another with criminal impersonation.

According to members of Occupy Nashville, two protesters suffered minor injuries during the arrests and were taken to the hospital.

13 Comments on this post:

By: pswindle on 10/29/11 at 9:59

Haslam respect their rights and freedom of speech. You have taken enough freedoms and rights away since you have been in office.

By: simplesimon on 10/29/11 at 1:49

simplesimonThis is all about economic injustice. Just as the Civil Rights was about racial injustice. People are saying that the protesters don't know what they want, I say yes they do, they are just having a hard time getting that message across. Plain and simple. The rights of workers have been stolen through the Greed 0f Investors, like me.during the past 25 years. I don't like companies that can't grow profits. Not thinking about my country, I was only wanting my profits. Well everything was fine for awhile, politicians made some great changes, I felt to even make me more money.. Reversal of Glass/Stegal, and the Bush Tax cuts, getting rid of pensions for 401k. But where I feel a real sense of guilt is when the U>S< Government paid off the bad bets of the few at the cost of the generations that follow me, I have to say, they will find a place to protest, and that is a right....This was a banking crises that a select few made into an American tax-payer problem and this is treasonous to a degree. So like it or not, I would bet that this movement is in it's infancy.

By: govskeptic on 10/29/11 at 4:49

So simply speaking simplesimon thought he could run a business and
couldn't.. The reporter was trying to leave many hours after the end of
the 10 o'clock time limit, but couldn't? The President, Federal Reserve,
and Secretary of the Treasury thought they could hand out the Stimulus
and Recovery taxpayer dollars like candy to Unions, foreign banks,
and friendly supporters without public reprisals, but couldn't !

The investment banks, mortgage bankers, real estate industry,
housing and financial regulators thought they could fleece millions
of Americans and get legally away with it-and they did! So just
what does the Tennessee Legislative Plaza, that has no Restrooms,
have to do with any of this injustice? The Federal Reserve building
or the Bank of America branches would be a more deserving Protest
spots!

By: simplesimon on 10/29/11 at 5:29

simplesimon Well in the Civil Rights movement it was marching through the streets, it was not picking up trash, it was going into coffee houses, etc., so maybe anywhere is as good as any to get a movement started , that would be my guess. I do believe it will find other methods in finding itself to protest. It took years for change to come about in the civil rights protest, all I am saying is that I do see a movement that is just getting started, and it is a right for Americans to assemble in America.

By: slzy on 10/29/11 at 10:24

hey occupiers: y'all do know gannetts former ceo got a $37.1 million retirement deal?

why are'nt y'all down on broadway at the tennesseans office instad of where you are?

By: slzy on 10/29/11 at 10:24

hey occupiers: y'all do know gannetts former ceo got a $37.1 million retirement deal?

why are'nt y'all down on broadway at the tennesseans office instad of where you are?

By: pepawjoe on 10/30/11 at 11:32

There's almost always at least one individual who has absolutely no idea about what is actually happening. And probably don't give a sh_t either.
Mr Governor, it is my hope and wish that "You" and You alone are viciously chastized by not only the people whose rights you have violated, but the News Medias locally as well as State wide. Your actions are a deplorable act and actually not a surprising move on your part.
I think you should "APOLIGIZE" and strongly consider getting out of the Public's view, permentantly. Your acts have been disgraceful to the citizens of our fine State. "GO HOME" Haslam!

By: courier37027 on 10/30/11 at 4:38

The Civil Rights movement sites included Washington DC on the Mall. You won't see a Mall protest by OWS, because this would embarrass the man they put into office. Certainly the money correlation between him and Wall Street is easier to define, as compared to a governor and his state's property.

By: courier37027 on 10/30/11 at 4:40

Any person or protestor that criticized this governor's actions, but chastized the anti-state income tax crowd (Sundquist and Bredesen administrations) cannot be taken seriously.

By: macjedi on 10/31/11 at 8:43

So... Neocons... how you like that LOCAL GOVERNMENT sovereignty now, BITCHES?

Try again, Haslam. This effort to coddle your greedy buddies is failing. Even YOU are not above the Constitution, and neither are your thugs in the THP!

By: TRHJR on 10/31/11 at 9:26

its my Plaza also !!!! you bums get out of my yard ...... NOW .. these occupiers need to have a Hickory Stick popped up side the head !!!!!!

By: yucchhii on 11/1/11 at 1:53

yucchhii I truly believe in what the protestors are trying to do! Yet one must remember, NO battle is won without making the sacrafices. The 60's movement with the hippies for instance, NO MATTER what your opinions of those people is, THEY CHANED THINGS AND SOME, WITH A HEAVY PRICE...THEY GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THE CAUSE!! How interested are YOU who are reading this in PRESERVING YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS? Eintien once said "The world will not be destroyed by the evil doers, it will be destroed by those who WATCHAND DO NOTHING!!!"

By: smiless on 11/9/11 at 12:35

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