Protestors Damaged Property Throughout Downtown Chattanooga; Threw Rocks At Police; Fought Officers; Blocked Roadways

  • Sunday, May 31, 2020

Chattanooga Police said protestors damaged property throughout downtown Chattanooga, threw rocks at police, fought with officers, and blocked roadways during several hours of tumult late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

Twelve were arrested, including several from out of town.

After the arrests the group of around 150 protestors surrounded the downtown jail and courts area before finally dispersing around 3 a.m.

There were several separate protests downtown on Saturday relating to the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis. Marchers yelled "No Justice. No Peace" as they marched across the Walnut Street Bridge early Saturday evening.

Police said they tried to break up the large "rancorous" crowd unsuccessfully for around three hours, then acts of vandalism and confrontations with officers began around 11 p.m. in North Chattanooga. They continued for several more tense hours.

Officers who were summoned to the scene included Chattanooga Police, Sheriff's officers and Tennessee Highway Patrol. Police Chief David Roddy was at the scene throughout the day attempting to communicate with the group.

The protestors occupied all four lanes of the Market Street Bridge as they headed toward the north side of the river. At the intersection of Market and Frazier they began a "sit in" at the busy intersection. 

Ordered to quit blocking the roadway, the group rose and began marching down the center of Frazier Avenue heading east. A pedestrian lane was open and attempts were made to steer the group toward Coolidge Park. The group resisted and camped at the intersection of Frazier and Tremont, while completely taking over the eastbound lanes.

Officers formed a line and were able to move the protestors off the roadway, then there was a surge back onto Frazier by the group, police said. At this time Caleb Jenkins, Erica Chacon, Taira Truss and Colby Prigmore were taken into custody. Jenkins is from 404 Coffee Lane, Loudon, Tn. Ms. Chacon is from 175 Corvin Meadows Lane, Dayton, Tn., Ms. Truss is from 709 N. Holly St., and Prigmore is from 210 Railroad St., Dayton, Tn.

Police also arrested Sydnie R. Jeffers, of 901 Mountain Creek Road, Apt. 155, for refusing repeated commands to get out of the roadway.  

Police said prior to 1 a.m., the large group headed back toward downtown over the Walnut Street Bridge. They "proceeded to travel around the city damaging property all over the downtown area. They went as far south as MLK Boulevard, then along Chestnut "continuing to damage property around the city."

At 7th and Market, an officer took Kristin Holloway, of 821 W. 14th St. Court, into custody for "obstructing a roadway when asked, inciting a riot, and disorderly conduct." Police said he refused to move out of the roadway and was also seen knocking a civilian down.  

They next gathered near Buffalo Wild Wings at 100 Market St. just before 1 a.m. They "were continually ordered to peacefully disperse."

Police said two individuals began throwing rocks at officers. They said Denishia Price, of 261 Long Island Road, South Pittsburg, was taken into custody after a chase. Police said during this arrest an individual named Dylan Hardwick approached police yelling. He "was detained until police could calm the scene down." Hardwick, of 4112 E. Stump St., East Ridge, was arrested.

A large rock was then thrown at officers seeking to disperse the crowd. It struck a patrol car and came close to an officer who was standing behind the vehicle.    

At that point an officer noticed an individual in a dark shirt running up the hill from Market Street toward the Hunter Museum. The officer said he began to crest the hill at Aquarium Way as bits of concrete were still being thrown at him. Another officer joined in the pursuit as they got to the top of the hill and saw two individuals running away. The pair refused commands to halt. 

The officers caught up with the pair at the Hunter Museum. One of the officers drew his tazer on Skyler Dover and he took the tazer away. An officer said he then "stunned (Dover) in the small of his back and it was effective." Dover, of 1406 Morris Hill Road, was then taken into custody along with the female with him.

Back at Market Street near Buffalo Wild Wings officers formed a line to try to keep protestors from entering the streets. Police said a white male tried to push through the line of officers and physically made contact with them. Police said the man, Eric L. Morton, of 310 Marilyn Dr., Jasper, Tn., again tried to push through officers and became physical. It took several officers to take him to the ground and get him into custody, it was stated.

At the same location, police said Darryon Wood pushed officers and tried to assist a friend to get away. Wood, of 1109 E. 8th St., was then taken into custody.

A short time later, police said an officer was pushed by Shaun McAfee, of 1446 Bradt St. McAfee was removed from the protest area and taken into custody.

Click here for video of the march on Walnut Street.

In Nashville protestors set fire to the courthouse. They also toppled a statue to Edward Ward Carmack, a politician and newspaperman who had a running battle with civil rights activist Ida B. Wells.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee responded by calling out the National Guard, and a 10 p.m. curfew was set.

The governor said, "At the request of Mayor Cooper, I am authorizing the National Guard to mobilize in response to protests that have now taken a violent, unlawful turn in Nashville. The threat to both peace and property is unacceptable and we will work with local law enforcement and community leaders to restore safety and order. This is not a reflection of our state or the fundamental American right to peaceful protest.”

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