City of Murfreesboro, Rutherford County release total cost of expenses for ‘White Lives Matter’ rally preparation, security

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.”

To contact News Editor Andrew Wigdor, email

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    November 28, 2017

    I would like to open this comment with the strong opinion of how this event should not have even happened in the first place and could have been prevented if sociable norms did not constantly turn to hatred, anger, and violence before peace and a negotiable solution. But; it happened and continues to happen at many college campuses and towns throughout the country. I understand the fact that under the first amendment people are free to speak as they choose however; i do not understand the need for the specific human requesting to speak about such finds it an acceptable topic to spread throughout communities. It is insane that over 100, 000 dollars had to be spent by the community in the first place to protect the people of our city in such an event.

    Aside from strong opinion and personal rejection of the event and all it stands to represent, I am glad that The City of Murfreesboro went above and beyond to find security to protect the citizens during this rally. A turn to violence is never the answer, but neither is a rally against a certain race and deeming one race superior to another so no logic was clearly present in the whole matter. As stated, an extreme act of violence hadn’t broke out in Murfreesboro during the rally but it did at other rallies similar in other states. Businesses around where this terrible event was being held had to shut down for the day; thus loosing needed profit for themselves along with their physical businesses themselves being put to harm in a possible unexpected case of violence breaking out.

    Given all of this; I am quite conflicted myself. On one hand i a, very grateful that Murfreesboro was able to go above and beyond in costs of security for the event to keep our people safe; however i think that having to have security, this event and chances of violence over the matter of race has no room for existing in our world today and bring about a violent, unneeded past of the south that few would like to dive back into. A large amount of blood was shed in the civil war so that racial equality could be achieved and even when it was; there are just some people that can’t move on with the fact that no race is superior and we are all humans. I find it understandable that people are allowed to speak out about this yet; disgraced that i am apart of a world today where people would get together to claim to many that they are superior to another human race.

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