The protests at the state capitol have forced the Tennessee Highway Patrol to spend nearly $900,000 in overtime costs.
And that’s just between May 31, around the time the protests started, up until June 30.
This, according to THP spokesman Lindsey R. Balthrop in an email to The Tennessee Star Thursday.
“For May 31, 2020 – June 30, 2020, the total amount of overtime in dollars worked by Tennessee Highway Patrol members regarding the protests and working at the Capitol was $850,689.25,” Balthrop said.
“The travel expenses through June 30, 2020 were $27,936.90. This number only reflects the travel expenses at the end of June 2020 because travel was not recorded until the end of June.”
Balthrop said she could not speculate how this extra spending will affect the THP’s overall budget.
Left-wing activist Justin Jones, who has overseen many of the protests, said on his Facebook page Thursday that state officials don’t have to spend this money.
“Unnecessary waste of public funds here in Tennessee by Gov. Bill Lee to create police state and intimidate nonviolent protest,” Jones wrote.
“This money could go to healthcare and housing costs for the people, especially amidst ongoing pandemic which the Governor has ignored.”
As The Tennessee Star reported last month, THP officers removed protesters’ extra equipment from Legislative Plaza after they failed to comply with an agreement made between the two sides.
Demonstrators renamed the plaza the Ida B. Wells Plaza. Wells was an early civil rights leader.
When organizers started this protest on June 12, they asked for “government officials to defund and demilitarize the police, remove what they call racist statues, and fire Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson.”
Eventually, Anderson decided to retire in six months after facing pressure from left-wing activists and Metro Council members.