Thursday, May 14, 2009

DA Drops Charges Against Scientology Protester

Nashville College Student Says Officers Attacked Him
WSMV News4: The district attorney has dropped the citations against a man arrested during a scuffle outside the Church of Scientology. Protesters were walking down the sidewalk last month when security guards hired by the church went after them. Those guards were off-duty Spring Hill police officers. A college student said the officers attacked him. He received three citations, but the district attorney just dismissed them.

Strange. When somebody is found innocent of something, it's just not news. No film. No news report. Just a blog entry. More discussion on this latest event can be found over at WWP.

If you're not familiar with the story, see the recap below:

WSMV News4: Nashville: There are problems with how security for a Nashville Scientology event was handled, and laws appear to have been broken.

• Public Works pulled all of the permits taken out for the Scientology event. The permits -- all of them for sidewalk closing and lane blocking -- are for the wrong day. They're for the day before the event and expire before the scuffle occurred.

• Three of the five security guards were off-duty Spring Hill police officers working in Nashville, which can only be done if local police are notified and officers are wearing uniforms clearly identifying them as off-duty police officers.

"The armed people from the other county are not identified police officers," said John M. L. Brown. "You're looking for a problem." Brown, a Fraternal Order of Police attorney, has been defending police officers for 32 years. He said he finds the officers' actions hard to defend. He also added. "Nashville's a capital city, and there are protests in Nashville with some frequency, I don't think that mentioning a bologna sandwich is a recognized law enforcement tactic." Watch Part2 below:

• The Church of Scientology said it told security these were dangerous people and to do what they needed to do.
• The assistant police chief of the Spring Hill Police Department, Jon Roberts, said from the video it looked like to him that the protesters were looking for trouble. Roberts said he feels that the officers did not do anything wrong, and the home video does not tell the whole story.
• The security firm hired by the Church of Scientology was Hayes Security on Gallatin Road. A representative of the firm said that the matter is being turned over to its attorneys.

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