Murfreesboro students find support in numbers after week of tension with law enforcement

Posted at 12:29 AM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 06:38:07-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Students from across Murfreesboro say they too are calling for law enforcement reform, and they joined in with tens of thousands demanding the same during Thursday's Black Lives Matter rally in Nashville.

Tensions have been rising in Rutherford County, as protests took a violent turn this past weekend.

NewsChannel 5 spoke with several protesters who say they felt bullied by law enforcement during their attempts at peaceful protests earlier in the week.

Thursday's rally was an opportunity for many to find strength in numbers, as they marched for criminal justice reform and racial equality.

For those who were at protests on Sunday and Monday, this was a much different sight compared to the tense standoffs with Rutherford County deputies they’ve seen in recent days.

“There’s power in peace, and there’s retaliation in riots and I’m not trying to die right now. I feel like myself and other people have a purpose. We’ve got kids to look after and we don’t want to lead them in the wrong direction, by showing hey this is the way you do it,” said James Massengill, host of Royce’s Rant podcast.

Massengill was there to see the chaos that erupted once curfew ended Sunday night. He says most had no idea the curfew existed until they were already 15 minutes past their deadline.

Massengill says the point of his efforts moving forward is to show law enforcement and others, that it’s possible to voice frustrations without it escalating into violence.

“Our main thing was to make sure that we let the police know that we’re aware of what’s going on, and we want you all to be empathetic. Even though these police were not the ones who killed George Floyd, they’re still a part of the fraternal order of police and we want them to be accountable to at least just speak up about how wrong that is,” said Massengill.

Massengill says beyond calling for law enforcement reform, he and other students are working to create a plan of action to help encourage more young people to participate in local elections.