National Guard lowers riot shields at urging of protesters


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Protesters called on the National Guard to put down riot shields at the State Capitol building Monday. The National Guard did in a show of solidarity.

Rally organizers said they were shocked at that response, but the call for the end to police brutality doesn’t end today.

“Our struggle and justice continues,” said Russell Pointer, Jr., who helped lead the rally. “Not just in Minneapolis, not just in Louisville, not just in Georgia, but also here in Tennessee -- we have our own struggles.”

A "Vigil for Black Lives" set up by the family of Daniel Hambrick was at Legislative Plaza in Nashville Monday evening.

People at the rally sang, prayed, and held signs protesting police brutality. Several people gave speeches.

After the speeches, the rally-goers marched up to the Capitol steps. They were allowed to pass beyond the security tape at the base of the staircase.

Eventually, they reached the National Guard, blocking the path to the building. But after protesters called on them to lower their shields, they did.

Sgt. Sarah Kirby, public affairs specialist.

“We’re all basically Tennesseans, and that was our demonstration,” said Sgt. Sarah Kirby said, a public affairs specialist for the National Guard.

The group also called on the state troopers to lower their batons. Some placed them behind their backs, and eventually, some did place them on the ground as the evening continued.

The vigil comes one week after video showing George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis Police custody, pleading that he could not breathe as a white officer knelt on his neck went viral.

Hambrick was shot three times in the back while being chased by Metro Police Officer Andrew Delke during a foot chase in North Nashville in June 2018. His family is planning to honor him with the vigil after plans to do so during his birthday this past weekend were changed.

The protesters today said they had three requests of state leaders: they wanted a demilitarized police force, they want funds to be transferred from police organizations to schools, and for tougher legislation against police brutality.

1011 The Beat · Nashville's Home for Hip Hop and R&B

Listen Now on iHeartRadio