Staffer says she was urinated on near Occupy Nashville protesters
Nov 9, 2011 04:29 PM
Occupy Nashville protesters have been camping out at Legislative Plaza since early October.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
The state is investigating reports that at least one staff member on Tennessee's Capitol Hill has been urinated on from above a Legislative Plaza courtyard just a few yards from where dozens of Occupy Nashville members are continuing their protest.
A memo has gone out from the director of the Legislative Administration warning staffers to be "aware of their surroundings when in the courtyard area."
The memo said there was "an incident involving debris/substance falling from the upper plaza down into the courtyard area behind House Hearing Rooms 29, 30 and 31."
The memo went on to say the Tennessee Highway Patrol has been notified and is "making an effort to ensure the area is safe."
"We are hopeful that this will not happen again," the memo concluded.
One staffer was asked if she believed the incident was caused by Occupy Nashville members or homeless people who have gravitated to the area since protesters starting camping there in early October.
The staffer did not want to be identified, but told Nashville's News 2, "We never had these problems in my years here before the protesters showed up."
The staffer who believes she was urinated on, a lawmaker's secretary, "It's absolutely the most disgusting thing that's happened to me up here. I was hit on the hair, my sweater, slacks and shoes."
The woman, who also did not want to be identified, said she has thrown away everything but the sweater, which she has kept for evidence, and joked she might even have to pressure wash her hair.
The incident was witnessed by a third female staff member who said the substance that hit her co-worker was undoubtedly urine because of the "arch of the stream" she saw from above.
Occupy Nashville members nearby did not believe one of their own was involved.
"We now consider Legislative Plaza our house and we don't go around urinating on people in our house," said Eva Watler who has been living in a tent on the Plaza since early October.
Joshua Bible Dufour added, "It was a probably a homeless, mentally disturbed person and one of the things we are seeing a lot of right now is these people are kind of being thrown right into the mix."
Both Occupy Nashville members and Tennessee Highway Patrol officers who provide security for the area say homeless people have gravitated from time to time to the protest site.