Two left-wing activists were arrested on Thursday at the State Capitol in Nashville, and one was charged with assaulting Tennessee Speaker of the House Glen Casada (R-Franklin).
Twenty-three-year-old Justin Jones, also known as Justin Bautista-Jones, a student at Vanderbilt Divinity School, and 22-year-old Jeneisha Harris were taken into custody at the Capitol Building by the Tennessee Highway Patrol late Thursday morning.
Jones was charged with assaulting Tennessee Speaker of the House Glen Casada (R-Franklin). He was also charged with disorderly conduct. Harris was charged with disorderly conduct.
At the time of the arrest, Jones was out on bond on charges of criminal trespassing and resisting arrest for his role in disrupting an October Republican rally held in Nashville in support of Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07). In November, Blackburn defeated Democrat Phil Bredesen to replace former Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) in the U.S. Senate.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol was on the second floor of the State Capitol Thursday morning in anticipation of a planned protest.
Jones was among the protesters who showed up.
“Several times, Justin Bautista-Jones attempted to go around rope barriers and enter the House of Representatives chambers,” the Tennessee Highway Patrol said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.
“It became clear that the group was attempting to contact Speaker Glen Casada. The House Sergeant-At-Arms advised the group that the chambers were closed for a press event. At approximately 10:06 a.m. Speaker Casada attempted to leave the chambers and enter an elevator that was being held specifically for members of the General Assembly and leadership,” the statement continued.
“The group, specifically Justin Jones, attempted to push his way passed uniformed State Troopers and enter the elevator. When he was denied entry, he began yelling at Speaker Casada, calling him a racist,” according to the statement.
“Mr. Jones was then witnessed throwing a Frothy Monkey cup, with an unknown liquid believed to be coffee, at Speaker Casada, also hitting State Representative Debra Moody in the process,” the statement added, noting that:
Mr. Jones was placed into custody at the time for Disorderly Conduct and two counts of simple assault. Jeneisha Harris was also arrested by Trooper Tara Lee for Disorderly Conduct for attempting to push passed troopers, yelling and threatening Trp. Lee. Both subjects were then escorted to another room in the State Capitol for processing and transported to a mobile booking facility by Davidson County’s Sheriff’s Office, where they were brought before a magistrate and warrants were issued
Jones was charged with disorderly conduct and two counts of simple assault. Harris was charged with disorderly conduct.
Speaker Casada tweeted out the details of the day’s event late Thursday morning:
Let me make something clear. This type of behavior from “peaceful protestors” won’t be tolerated. I will not stand for radicals physically & verbally assaulting my members. This behavior has no place or voice here. These folks have been arrested and charged with assault. #TNleg pic.twitter.com/ijQR8IzEiY
— Speaker Glen Casada (@GlenCasada) February 28, 2019
“Jones’ preliminary hearing in the Blackburn matter is scheduled for March, said Stephen Hayslip, spokesman for Nashville District Attorney General Glenn R. Funk. He is currently out on bond,” as The Tennessee Star reported:
The Star asked Hayslip on Thursday afternoon if Jones’ bond will now be revoked, in light of his subsequent arrest on new charges.
“I’m asking the ADA on the case if we can say anything about that today, or will wait and make our comments at Jones’ court appearance on this latest arrest,” Hayslip told The Star in an emailed statement.
Jones, who grew up in Hercules, California, and came to Nashville to attend Fisk University on a scholarship. After graduating from Fisk, he enrolled at Vanderbilt University’s Divinity School.
Breitbart Contributor Michael Patrick Leahy is the CEO and Editor-in-chief of The Tennessee Star.