published Monday, February 13th, 2012

Occupy Nashville wants an apology from Cleveland representative Eric Watson

Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland
Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE -- Occupy Nashville protesters want an apology from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Eric Watson, of Cleveland.

In a letter, the group says that Watson's contention that they were responsible for a November incident in which a legislative secretary was struck by urine was "out of order."

"The person or animal responsible for this act has never been identified," the group says in a letter to Judiciary Committee Vice Chairman Jim Coley, R-Bartlett. "There's no evidence that the employee was intentionally targeted; and no one has shown a connection of any sort with Occupy Nashville."

Watson had no comment when reached Monday.

Last week Watson, a Republican, referred to an incident in which a secretary sitting in a legislative courtyard said she was struck by a stream of urine from above, where Occupy Nashville protesters have been camping since October.

The Cleveland lawmaker has legislation that would ban such encampments. It would make violations a Class A misdemeanor, which carries fines and penalties of up to a year in jail.

"One of our employees that works here at the plaza here was peed on," Watson told Occupy Nashville members as the bill moved last week through committee. "If you approve of that -- you think that's peaceable assembly -- you need to be peed on. See how you like it."

In their letter, Occupy Nashville members ask that Watson's remarks "be repudiated and stricken from the record and that Chairman Watson retract his accusation and apologize to Occupy Nashville and the people of Tennessee."

Occupy Nashville supporters are paying for two portable toilets. The encampment also includes a number of homeless people, whom Occupy Nashville members say they are not responsible for controlling.

Contact staff writer Andy Sher at asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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