Scientology Security Permits Not Valid

Permits Valid Day Before Event Occurred; Officers Not Clearly Identified

WSMV News, Nashville/May 7, 2009

Nashville, Tennessee - There are problems with how security for a Nashville Scientology event was handled, and laws appear to have been broken.

In a home video, a group of protesters walk toward the Church of Scientology on the day of the church's grand opening and are stopped by security guards, who knock one protester to the ground and have him arrested for criminal trespass.

The altercation happened 400 yards from the church, on the other side of the street.

Public Works pulled all of the permits taken out for the Scientology event. The permits - all of them for sidewalk closing and lane blocking - are for the wrong day. They're for the day before the event and expire before the scuffle occurred.

In addition, three of the five security guards were off-duty Spring Hill police officers working in Nashville, which can only be done if local police are notified and officers are wearing uniforms clearly identifying them as off-duty police officers.

"The armed people from the other county are not identified police officers," said John M. L. Brown. "You're looking for a problem."

Brown, a Fraternal Order of Police attorney, has been defending police officers for 32 years. He said he finds the officers' actions hard to defend.

"Nashville's a capital city, and there are protests in Nashville with some frequency," he said. "I don't think that mentioning a bologna sandwich is a recognized law enforcement tactic."

The security firm hired by the Church of Scientology was Hayes Security on Gallatin Road. A representative of the firm said that the matter is being turned over to its attorneys.

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