Occupiers in Nashville, Tennessee scored a major victory again last night when Judicial Chancellor (magistrate) Thomas Edward Nelson ordered the immediate release of all 26 occupiers of Legislative Plaza, who were arrested in a second night of arrests and incarcerations by Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) officers under the orders of Governor Haslam and Tennessee General Services. Nelson further instructed the state troopers in his courtroom that they were to make no more arrests nor issue any more warrants, ruling Tennessee General Services had no legal authority to order a curfew of Nashville’s Legislative Plaza.

“I have reviewed the regulations of the state of Tennessee, and I can find no authority anywhere for anyone to authorize a curfew anywhere on Legislative Plaza,” Chancellor Thomas Nelson said.

Those occupiers who had not been arrested had been sitting quietly in Nelson’s courtroom, but their glee could not be contained when the Chancellor ordered the immediate release of those jailed. Outside the courthouse, they conducted an emergency General Assembly (GA) and unanimously voted to walk back to Legislative Plaza. As they marched away, they raised a chorus of “This is what democracy looks like!”

A Fox 17 newsman interviewed Occupy Nashville’s Michael Custer, asking Custer what would happened if occupiers were arrested again but had to face a different chancellor instead of Nelson. Custer replied that it would have to be the same result if any other chancellor believed in upholding the law like Nelson clearly does. When asked if the ruling would effect other occupations across the United States, Custer said he hoped so, but believed Nelson’s decision should affect all other of Tennessee occupations as well. [cont’d.]

The arrests began just before midnight CST, the second consecutive night of arrests at Legislative Plaza. This time, the arresting officers were more violent, resulting in two occupiers suffering injuries: one man, who was taken to the hospital, and a woman, who suffered minor injuries and had her camera broken. And though Chancellor Nelson had ordered immediate release from jail for the 26 arrested, the occupiers marching back to Legislative Plaza knew from the experience of the night before, when Nelson had issued a similar order, that it could still be hours before the jailed occupiers could reunite with them.

A standoff remained between 100 occupiers at the foot of the steps leading up to Legislative Plaza and the line of state troopers at the top, who were still under orders to hold the plaza. One protester stepped across the line the troopers had reestablished as boundary between being cooperative and being arrested, but the law enforcement officers moved back, instead, and did not make an arrest. Robert Kepler, the man who had previously been injured and taken to the hospital when arrested earlier, moved up the steps and then sat on a pillow, prompting troopers to rush down, circle him and try to convince him to leave. When Kepler refused, all but one of the troopers returned to the top of the stairs.

Not until approximately 3:30 AM CST were the jailed occupiers released and bused back to the courthouse, from where they departed to join those others of Occupy Nashville at the steps of Legislative Plaza. As of the time of this writing, the protesters were stepping higher and higher, closing the gap between themselves and the state police. The occupiers legal representative said it would be up to individual protesters to decide for themselves to go all the way up the steps and into the plaza. The lawyer also said he would be looking into filing suit for unlawful arrest.

So pleased was Occupy Nashville with the integrity of Chancellor Nelson, some got together and created a “Judicial Commissioner Thomas Edward Nelson is the 99%” Facebook page. Why not go there and like it, yourself?

Occupy Nashville LiveStream: http://occupystreams.org/item/occupy-nashville

Occupiers in Nashville, Tennessee scored a major victory again last night when Judicial Chancellor (magistrate) Thomas Edward Nelson ordered the immediate release of all 26 occupiers of Legislative Plaza, who were arrested in a second night of arrests and incarcerations by Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) officers under the orders of Governor Haslam and Tennessee General Services. Nelson further instructed the state troopers in his courtroom that they were to make no more arrests nor issue any more warrants, ruling Tennessee General Services had no legal authority to order a curfew of Nashville’s Legislative Plaza. (more…)

Oxdown Diaries

Oxdown Diaries