Saturday, May 18, 2024

Justin Jones in 2020 Told Crowd to Overthrow Oppressors

Writer’s Note: This is the second part of a three-part series about former Tennessee legislator Justin Jones and his history of left-wing activism.

Left-wing activist and agitator Justin Jones, the now former Tennessee legislator who made national news this week, grew up in Oakland, Calif. a city well known for producing fringe and far-left protestors.

Justin Jones relocated to Nashville after he received an endowed scholarship to study social justice and activism at Fisk University.

Jones insists many times over that he engages only in peaceful protests. His pattern of behavior contradicts that claim. The former Tennessee legislator also has a habit of disrespecting authority and doing the exact opposite of what his superiors or law enforcement officers ask or tell him to do. He accepted an American Civil Liberties Union award in November 2016.

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According to video of the event, which Jones’ grandmother posted on her personal Facebook page, Jones called upon young people to fight for liberty and justice.

“Young people and those who are young at heart, we have five words for you,” Justin Jones said as he accepted the award.

“See you in the streets. We will disrupt. We will organize. We will shut down injustice. Know we will not normalize hatred in this country.”

Nashville Police arrested Jones in August 2017 during a vigil at Bicentennial Park to honor people killed during the Charlottesville “United the Right” rally, according to

Four people, including Jones, left the park and marched to the nearby First Tennessee Park, home of the Nashville Sounds. Jones and the other three people tried to enter the park after a game ended, even though cops warned them not to. One of Jones’ companions reportedly resisted arrest. That suspect reportedly had marijuana, a grinder, and a small pipe in her purse. Another of Jones’ three friends purposefully tripped a police officer and later resisted arrest. went on to say Jones “was told by police not to jump in front of moving marked police cars.”

Quoting from Jones’ arrest report, the website said he “then jumped in front of a moving patrol car causing a danger to himself and the action served no legitimate purpose.”

In 2019, Jones, years before he was elected to office, was arrested for losing his temper and throwing a liquid at then-Tennessee Speaker of the House Glen Casada and State Rep. Debra Moody (R-Covington). Moody, who recorded video of the incident, said at the time that whatever Jones threw was hot and most likely coffee.

At a 2020 rally to honor George Floyd at Nashville’s Legislative Plaza, Jones told a crowd of thousands that “you don’t just vote out your oppressor. You overthrow them.”

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Later in the day, some protestors resorted to violence. They vandalized the Metro Courthouse and, later, parts of downtown Broadway, which is a major business and entertainment thoroughfare. Metro Nashville Police later determined the protestors damaged 30 businesses and buildings.

While Jones did not appear to directly instigate those events, his inflammatory rhetoric and disruptive behavior seems to metastasize with every passing year, thanks in part to allies in Nashville who hold powerful positions.

Part Three of this series will examine who, specifically, those Nashville allies are and explain why Jones never carries out his aggressive tactics in Tennessee’s far more conservative districts.

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