Criminal defense attorney says little ‘consistency’ in recent arrests at peaceful protests

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Protests and rallies continue across the Midstate with people calling for change and an end to police brutality.

News 2 has reported on arrests that have been made at or following peaceful gatherings.

On Thursday, Metro Police issued warrants for the arrest of activists, Justin Jones, and Jeneisha Harris – alleging that both individuals were connected to the vandalism of a Metro Police cruiser during Saturday night rioting.

Nearly three hours later, Metro Police announced the warrants were recalled and later said they had requested assistance from the District Attorney’s Office to review and charge cases connected to vandalism.

“What we are seeing is a broad, discretionary take on who to arrest, how to arrest them …and there doesn’t seem to be any consistency,” said Caleb Cassell, a criminal defense attorney based in Nashville.

Cassell is representing a 19-year-old who was arrested by the Rutherford County Sheriff’s office after a peaceful gathering in in Mufreesboro.

Cassell said his client was arrested for violating curfew after being stepped on by mounted patrol.

“I would call it arbitrary policing,” he said.

Cassell commented that when arrests are made at a peaceful protest it’s the officer’s discretion on who is arrested and what charges are filed.

Of those who are arrested at peaceful gatherings, Cassell said, “The vast majority of these are being charged with disorderly conduct because they were peaceful. the vast majority were peaceful protectors, so they’re not charging them with these more serious charges, they’re charging them for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

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