Sunday, October 30, 2011

Overzealous Tennessee Highway Patrol cops assault and detain newspaper reporter

While Governor Bill Haslam's storm troopers backed off Legislative Plaza Saturday night/Sunday morning and 150 Occupy Nashville protesters prepared to go to jail were spared police violence, an episode from the night before underscores just how arbitrary and capricious the Haslam curfew is. While well-to-do theater-goers continued to be allowed access to the plaza past curfew, THP troopers combatively descended on occupiers, but they also forced a professional reporter, Jonathan Meador, to the ground and into cuffs despite his continuous exclamations that he was part of the press corp.

Meador's continuously running flip camera recorded the entire violation for posterity and for blogger fodder:

According to Meador's news company, when a fellow journalist asked one of the officers if they actually intended to to lock up a reporter, the cop shot back, "You want to be next"? The Nashville Scene also reports that when it became evident that the initial charges Meador's arresting trooper ordered  ("resisting arrest") at the end of the video were bogus given his status, they switched Meador's charge to "public intoxication". He did not appear publicly intoxicated to me in the video. What I heard were sober and cogent appeals to allow him as a reporter to move off the plaza.

If the cops were allowing TPAC ticket holders to enter and exit the plaza after the curfew, why did they refuse to let Meador do the same instead of trumping up charges twice in what appears to be a blatant act of intimidation on observers who might document bad things that happen when the state cracks down on nonviolent assemblies?


  1. As the OW movement grows we'll see cities and states where the police are more aggressive (Repub dominated). The command from above will encourage law enforcement to do so. We'll also see cities ans states where it is the opposite. This entire thing is gonna boil up big as the election draws closer. Funny thing tho, and an aside. Haslam has proved he is a pussy. Unable to choose a stance. The first arrests by the troopers were basically a trial balloon. He got bad press. So now he backs off. Total lack of leadership, regardless of what side your on.

  2. I think it is funny (and pathetic as well as hilarious) that since Haslam has been elected, he is NO WHERE to be seen in the news. Even this matter barely brings a blip when it comes to his new radar.

    When Bredesen was gov, he made the news (You'd see his name from time to time in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal). Haslam? He is sorta like the bone-head at the bar in Panama City who just sits there and says, "Go Gators!"

    I have NO idea why Haslam ran for gov. Just WHAT is he doing? I have no clue. Can somebody tell me?