Protestors Asked to Leave Legislative Plaza, State Troopers Make 29 Arrests
NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security early Friday morning enforced a revised state policy that makes the Legislative Plaza, War Memorial Courtyard, and Capitol grounds areas closed to the public from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. daily. The revised policy also states there shall be no overnight occupancy of the state properties.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol, which provides security for Legislative Plaza, War Memorial Courtyard, and the Capitol grounds, asked Occupy Nashville protestors to leave the Legislative Plaza at 3:10 a.m. Approximately two dozenprotestors left the plaza without incident. Troopers arrested 29 protestors who refused to leave. The protestors were transported to the Davidson County Jail where troopers issued them misdemeanor citations for criminal trespassing (a class C misdemeanor). The protestors were released shortly before 9 a.m. A court date has been set in Davidson County General Sessions Court for November 18. A total of 75 state troopers were involved in the curfew enforcement.
"The Department of Safety and Homeland Security took the appropriate action to support the state's revised policy that the Legislative Plaza is not to be used at night without specific authorization. The policy was revised for security reasons, and the protestors were aware of the policy. The process was handled by state troopers in a professional manner and without incident. It is our responsibility to keep the protestors safe on state property, along with citizens who work, live and enjoy downtown. We all must work together to ensure a safe environment," Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.
The Department of Safety and Homeland Security enforced the curfew policy at the least disruptive time to citizens who visit, work, and live in downtown Nashville.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to ensure the safety and general welfare of the public. The department encompasses the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Office of Homeland Security and Driver License Services. General areas of responsibility include law enforcement, safety education, motorist services and terrorism prevention.