U.S. District Court Judge Aleta Trauger ruled Wednesday that state officials violated the free speech rights of Occupy Nashville protesters in 2011.
The judge specifically singled out Department of General Services Commissioner Steve Cates and Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons for their handling of the arrests of protesters on Legislative Plaza. The protesters were arrested after “new rules” pertaining to the plaza were passed “without engaging in any formal process,” according to the opinion.
“The defendants have offered no coherent explanation as to why they failed to consult with the Attorney General on an issue of this magnitude... ,” Trauger wrote. “Even after the Judicial Commissioner refused to approve the warrants after the first wave of arrests, the defendants did not seek advice from the Attorney General.”
Trauger also awarded monetary damages to the plaintiffs, including arrested Occupy protesters.