Photo by Anthony Bukengolts / MTSU Sidelines
The City of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County released the total cost incurred in providing security for residents during the “White Lives Matter” rally that was to occur in Murfreesboro on Oct. 28.
According to the joint press release from the City and County, approximately $101,237 was incurred throughout the organization and execution of the security efforts. The press release specified that the cost of overtime for the Murfreesboro Police, Fire and Rescue, Street, Solid Waste and Urban Environmental departments was $89,992. In addition, expenses such as food, supplies and other assets incurred a total cost of $12,050. According to the release, the list of supplies, such as food and tools, does not include expenditures for equipment that will “serve the on-going needs of the Murfreesboro Police Department and a growing city.” The investments include $24,998 for pedestrian steel barricades, $109,800 for gas masks and $18,250 for voice projection units for the gas masks.
The release also stated that the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Medical Services and Emergency Management Agency spent approximately $153,710.81 in preparation for the rally.
The “White Lives Matter” rally that was organized by several white supremacist groups began in Shelbyville and was to move down to Murfreesboro later in the day. However, the second part of the event that was to take place in the city was eventually canceled.
Despite the cancellation, local business owners incurred expenses in preparing for the rally alongside the City of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County. Businesses boarded up their storefronts and closed their shops in preparation for the rally, which caused thousands of dollars in equipment costs and business hours to be lost. Murfreesboro Loves, a counter-protest group, encouraged residents to support their local businesses in the wake of the rally through a shopping event. While the exact reason for the cancellation of the rally is still unknown, an estimated 800 to 1,000 counter-protestors were screened by law enforcement and entered the square to combat the white nationalist groups.
“A united community demonstrated how free speech rights can be upheld while protecting public safety,” Rob Lyons, the Murfreesboro city manager, said in the press release.
The release also reiterated that no damages, arrests or injuries occurred during the event in Murfreesboro.
“We are thankful to our local law enforcement officers and partnering agencies in Rutherford County, neighboring counties and state and federal agencies, firefighters, paramedics, emergency management and other first responders for staffing and supporting the rally,” Lyons said in the release. “Rutherford County Sheriff Michael Fitzhugh and MPD Chief Mike Bowen should be commended for their leadership.”
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