20 facing charges after demonstration outside CoreCivic headquarters

Protesters are lining up outside CoreCivic headquarters in Green Hills. (WSMV)

Twenty people were charged for allegedly refusing to leave during a protest at CoreCivic headquarters in Green Hills on Monday.

The demonstrators arrived around 6:15 a.m. and blocked the building's entrances for several hours.

According to the Metro Nashville Police Department, 10 of the people who were arrested had chained themselves together.

MNPD says the demonstrators received "repeated verbal warnings" to leave.

Some of the organizations participating in the protests include The Holler Network, No Exceptions Prison Collective, Tennessee Poor People’s Campaign, Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center, Black Lives Matter Nashville, Industrial Workers of the World Asheville chapter and the Knoxville Radical Alliance.

Ashley Dixon, a former CoreCivic corrections officer, was among the demonstrators.

"While I was there, I watched two people die due to medical neglect, and it really impacted me on a deep and personal level. I want this whole corporation shut down," Dixon said.

Jeannie Alexander of No Exceptions Prison Collective sent this statement about the demonstration:CoreCivic is a human rights disaster in our own backyard,” said Jeannie Alexander of No Exceptions Prison Collective. “For decades, Core Civic has engaged in the business of tearing apart families and destroying communities as it has spurred the growth of the Prison Industrial Complex. They trade on human flesh and misery, and now their trade in human trafficking is visible to everyone as the world watches CoreCivic abuse and cage immigrant families for profit. Today activist and organizations from around the Southeast say no more. Today we move to abolish CoreCivic.Amanda Gilchrist, the director of Public Affairs for the company, issued this response:CoreCivic plays a valued but limited role in America’s immigration system, which we have done for every administration – Democrat and Republican – for more than 30 years. While we know this is a highly charged, emotional issue for many people, much of the information about our company being shared by special interest groups is wrong and politically motivated, resulting in some people reaching misguided conclusions about what we do. The fact is our sole job is to help the government solve problems in ways it could not do alone – to help manage unprecedented humanitarian crises, dramatically improve the standard of care for vulnerable people, and meet other critical needs efficiently and innovatively.The following people are charged with criminal trespassing. Click here to see their mugshots. Jeannie Alexander, 46, Old Hickory, TN Ansley Wolfe-Nelson, 22, Nashville, TN Dustin Steele, 27, Knoxville, TN Russell Manning, 27, Knoxville, TN Wesley Hufstader, 26, Asheville, NC David Hayes, 25, Knoxville, TN Thomas Gonzales, 22, Atoka, TN Gary Crays, 42, Liberty, TN Johnathan Bonini, 32, Brackney, PA Lillian Hsu, 37, Liberty, TN (also charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct) Riley Bigg, 38, Asheville, NC Joseph Fennell, 32, Millington, TN Bethney Foster, 44, Nashville, TN Tuesday Gilliam, 37, Liberty, TN Julie Henry, 33, Nashville, TN Caleb Brock, 19, Chattanooga, TN Hunter Duncan, 26, Ashland City, TN Ashley Dixon, 34, Nashville, TN Danielle Burton, 31, Watertown, TN Juliette Allen, 25, Watertown, TNMNPD officials said more than 70 police officers and 18 supervisors were pulled from their regular duties to respond to the demonstration.

According to a news release from MNPD, officers worked for several hours in extreme heat as they worked to remove the protesters who had chained themselves together.

Police Chief Steve Anderson issued this statement about the protests:We understand the need of the people to engage in protest. We understand the right of the people to engage in protest.

I think that all of Nashville knows that over the years we have taken all reasonable steps to facilitate and accommodate those views and those rights as people have engaged in protests.

However, today's actions, by a handful of persons, can only be interpreted as a deliberate and calculated measure to impact public safety and to unreasonably expend public resources.

These actions, by a few, go far beyond any need to or right to express a point of view. At any future sentencing for these illegal acts, there should be corresponding and commensurate consequences.

Protesters blocking the entrance at @CoreCivic hq in Green Hills pic.twitter.com/I1f8RUfX1T— Rebecca Cardenas (@RebeccaWSMV) August 6, 2018
Demonstrators tell me they’re raising awareness for inhumane prison conditions — @CoreCivic is nation’s largest owner and operator of private prisons & contracts w/ ICE pic.twitter.com/pc5LAclV2y— Rebecca Cardenas (@RebeccaWSMV) August 6, 2018
One protestor I spoke to is former Core Civic guard — says she quit because she saw two people die of medical neglect pic.twitter.com/6kDdxLCPSQ— Rebecca Cardenas (@RebeccaWSMV) August 6, 2018

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Multimedia Producer

Kara is an Emmy Award-winning digital producer. She is a Cincinnati native and an alumna of the University of South Carolina. She previously worked at WRDW-TV in Augusta, Ga., before moving to Nashville five years ago to work at WSMV-TV.

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