THP video shows new perspective of Capitol Hill protest encounters

Community Unrest

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Until a few days ago, protesters had been at the state capitol protesting what they perceive as social injustice.

And in that roughly 2-and-a-half month span, there have been countless images of confrontations between citizens and the THP on the news and online.

According to THP, 255 people were arrested over that time frame. Some people were arrested multiple times.

The protesters have previously accused the troopers of brutality. THP has said throughout its officers have acted professionally.

To this date, the THP has not released their footage of the protests at the Capitol.

News 2 has obtained footage from two different incidents this summer.

That video includes camera footage from locations with an aerial perch as well as a trooper on the ground.

The first incident is from June 23. The second video documents the protest on July 11.

The first video from June 23 begins with the troopers approaching War Memorial Plaza where they warn protesters that after numerous warnings to remove tents and other camping gear they will be confiscating their belongings.

As troopers begin confiscating items that belong to the protesters, you can feel the tension escalate.

As dozens of troopers begin moving items from the Plaza, the sense of outrage is palpable.

“Don’t touch me,” one protester yells as dozens of bodies moving all at once come into contact with one another.

All the while, dozens of protesters and dozens of troopers continue to move closely near each other, walking up and down the stairs. At one point, while many troopers and protesters all are on the stairs moving in different directions, a woman in yellow becomes irate, casting allegations that a trooper, later identified as John Grinder has struck her.

“He just hit me in my face,” the woman shouted.

While the woman screams that a trooper hit her in the head, there is no video that authenticates her allegations.

One of the cameras high above the fray seems to show that at no time does a trooper touch her.

Several minutes later, video shows people surrounding the woman in yellow, now laying on the street. Officials describe what has happened to her as a medical episode.

Protesters blame the THP for this medical emergency.

Video shows troopers try to get closer to render aid, but the crowd blocks their attempts. “Get back get back,” they scream.

Eventually EMS arrived and the woman in yellow rose up.

Later, a man with a bull horn is seen yelling for Sgt. Grinder, the officer protesters at the time thought had hit the woman, to show himself.

“Where is Trooper Grinder?,” the bullhorn man shouts. “bring him out!”

In the end, the troopers pick up the tents and coolers and other belongings. The truck leaves and the scene calms.

THP officials told News 2, this specific incident was investigated, the video reviewed, and Trooper Grinder was found to have committed no offense.

We asked the THP for a comment, but they declined. But high ranking officials tell News 2 that by and large they are proud of the professionalism exhibited by the troopers.

The second video obtained exclusively by News 2 is from July 11. It shows a man with a bull horn screaming at troopers guarding the capitol.

“No justice, no peace,” the man shouts over the sounds of music blaring.

Things escalate when the man with the bullhorn approaches the troopers. As the man gets very close to addresses the troopers with the bullhorn, an officer snatches the bullhorn from him.

This angers the man and his fellow protesters. Then things heat up big time as the troopers begin to move the barricade.

That’s when the man who had the bullhorn falls backward off the high marble steps in front of the Capitol. The man tumbles and cracks his skull on the hard marble. He doesn’t move and there is a hush over the crowd.

A review of the video shows the man lost his balance and fell backward when the two protesters with him, pulled him backward. The video shows the troopers never touch him.

The troopers immediately move to render aid and call for medical attention.

Meanwhile the accusations of police brutality can be heard by other protesters almost immediately.

With an ambulance wailing in the distance, you can hear the troopers tend to the man. “Where you hurting buddy?” an officer can be heard asking.

THP said the man who fell is named Kenneth Blaylock. He was charged July 11 with public intoxication, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of community unrest across Middle Tennessee.

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