Inside the courthouse: What the historic building looks like after riot

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Saturday night’s riot sparked more than just tensions at the historic courthouse.

Every window on the first floor was shattered as rioters started fires and painted profane graffiti.

“There was some glass in here, you can still see some shards,” Vice Mayor Jim Shulman said as we entered his office on a tour around the damaged building.

The major damage to the front offices primarily affected the mayor’s office as well as transportation and finance departments.

“There’s a lot of history that’s happened here. It belongs to be people of this city and this county. And to have people throw things at it and deface it and then break stuff and try to set it on fire, it just it makes you feel bad. It’s like a personal hit,” Shulman said.

  • fire at Nashville courthouse

The boarded up window panes bring darkness to the building as crews worked on Monday to wipe off smoke damage and rip up carpeting.

Additional crews focused on the outside of the building where cleaning products were being tested so the various surfaces wouldn’t suffer further damage.

“There was an important message people were trying to relay and they’ve been trying to relay in this country for the last couple of days and the rally was peaceful, but the message got lost,” Shulman said.

But Shulman said council meetings will continue as usual. Especially as the budget committee works to figure out a $330 million dollar deficit.

“We have a giant shortfall, and there’s a need to, our fund balances are depleted,” Shulman said.

Mayor John Cooper said during his morning press conference that a disappointing sight was recognizing a plaque that was used to hit those windows. A historic civil rights marker to honor Diana Nash was broken and turned into a weapon of destruction.

“This vandalism and arson ignored the sacred history of non-violent social change that has taken place on those very courthouse steps,” Cooper said.

Right now there is no price tag set for how much the damage will cost Nashville’s government.

While Shulman anticipates repairs will come out of the capital budget, Cooper says taxpayers should not have to cough up that funding. He said during the press briefing on Monday that insurance should be footing the bill for any riot damages.


The latest on the protests and riots following the “I Will Breathe” rally in Nashville:

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