Protests in a few cities in Tennessee turned destructive last night.
Metro Nashville Police confirm 28 people were arrested yesterday. Officers say the demonstrators were arrested during the protests or after the 10 p.m. curfew. Twenty-five of the 28 protesters arrested are from Tennessee, while three were from out of state. At least 30 businesses/buildings were also damaged last night in Nashville
Last night, Nashville Mayor John Cooper signed an executive order, declaring a state of civil emergency, and setting up a curfew for 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. this morning.
Police say just before 11 p.m. yesterday downtown Nashville was essentially cleared. No officers were injured. At least six Nashville police vehicles were significantly damaged.
Governor Bill Lee authorized the Tennessee National Guard to mobilize last night in response to protests that turned violent in Nashville.
The Nashville Metro Courthouse also sustained significant damage as demonstrators clashed with officers. Demonstrators covered the courthouse with graffiti, set fires inside the courthouse and shattered windows. The Edward Carmack statue at the state capitol was knocked over (seen in picture used in this story). The historic Ryman Auditorium sustained damage to several windows.
Other cities in Tennessee reported incidents last night:
Chattanooga police, along with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, respond to protesters in Market Street area. At least 9 arrests made from the protests.
In Knoxville, police say several individuals vandalized property in Market Square.
In Morristown, a crowd of nearly 150 gathered and marched throughout downtown reciting phrases such as “I can’t breathe” and “no justice, no peace.” The majority of the protesters left peacefully, but a small group started throwing water bottles and rocks from West First Street into the garage underneath the Morristown City Center building where police formed a line to block protesters from entering.
The protests were sparked by the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd, a African American man who died after a Minneapolis cop, Derek Chauvin, was seen kneeling on his neck in a viral video. Chauvin has been fired and charged with third-degree murder, and the U.S. Justice Department is investigating the case. Crowds across the nation have seized on the racially charged incident to demand justice, but the protests have turned increasingly violent.