TENNESSEE (WATE) – So far, protests in reaction to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota have occurred all across Tennessee.
There have been protests and rallies in Knoxville, Morristown, Nashville and Memphis after a video of Floyd’s death also sparked protests all across the country.
In Middle Tennessee, Governor Bill Lee mobilized the National Guard in Nashville as violence erupted during a protest late Saturday night.
“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.”Governor Bill Lee
Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally took to Twitter and said, “What is happening in Nashville is a descent into madness. This is not who we are. The outside agitators responsible for this mayhem should cease, desist and leave our state. The police are not perfect. Those who transgress against our citizens should be brought to justice.”
McNally continued to say that law enforcement is the only thing keeping order amid the chaos, and that he supported Gov. Lee’s decision to mobilize the National Guard and the THP Strike Force.
“This lawlessness is counterproductive and wrong. It needs to end tonight.”Lt. Governor Randy McNally
Representative Chuck Fleischmann says that his heart breaks after seeing initially peaceful protests turn violent.
”Protestors who are peacefully exercising their first amendment right should be allowed to be heard.
Chief Deputy Austin Garrett, Chief David Roddy, Chattanooga Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriffs Office have shown incredible leadership.
I also want to applaud the work of our local journalists who are continuing to work around the clock to ensure our community stays informed WRCB Channel 3 Eyewitness News, News 12 Now, WTVC-TV News, Channel 9 News, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Knoxville News Sentinel, WATE 6 On Your Side, WVLT, and WBIR Channel 10.
It has been a rough year, and our nation will not heal overnight, but we should not forget how blessed we all are to live in the world’s strongest republic. I know there are brighter days ahead if we remember that we are all united as one nation under God.”Rep. Chuck Fleischmann
Representative Tim Burchett also released a statement regarding the violence in Nashville and nationwide.
“The killing of George Floyd was tragic, unnecessary and unacceptable. Communities of color, and in fact our entire nation, are right to be angry, and protesting peacefully and lawfully is an appropriate way to express that anger. Rioting, as we’ve seen across our country in recent days and in Nashville tonight is illegal and unworthy of being called a protest or a rally. Looting and damaging businesses, destroying private property, vandalizing and burning public buildings are acts that distract from the memory of George Floyd and the ongoing effort to eliminate racism in our country. Thankfully, in my hometown of Knoxville, protests yesterday were peaceful. Rather than uncontrolled opportunistic violence and looting, our country need to come together in unity and in prayer.”Rep. Tim Burchett
At around 9:04 p.m. Saturday, Representative Jason Zachary took to Twitter, thanking law enforcement for the job they’re doing in Nashville.
“Our @TNHighwayPatrol are risking their lives to protect our State Capitol from the criminals and vandals who are trashing Nashville. Please join me in praying for these men and women. I’m with them every week and they are true public servants.”Rep. Jason Zachary
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