GR US

Arrest in Historic Nashville Courthouse Fire

Αssociated Press

A protester starts a fire at the Metro Courthouse in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, May 30, 2020, after a demonstration over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. (Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via AP)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A man who set fire to a historic courthouse in Tennessee during weekend protests has been arrested.

Wesley Somers, 25, is charged with felony arson, vandalism and disorderly conduct. He is accused of setting fire to Nashville’s Historic Courthouse on Saturday night. Metro Nashville Police said Somers was among 29 people arrested after protesters in Tennessee’s capital set fires inside and outside the courthouse and toppled a statue of a former state lawmaker and newspaper publisher who espoused racist views. Protesters damaged 30 businesses. In addition to the courthouse, the Ryman Auditorium, known as the mother church of country music, was damaged, police said.

Others who were arrested face charges that include assaulting police officers, disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing, police said.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Somers has an attorney.

Separate demonstrations were held in Murfreesboro, Chattanooga, and Memphis, where protesters made it onto Interstate 55, circumventing officers in riot gear.