City leaders react to religious concert in Nashville

City leaders react to religious concert in Nashville

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – City leaders are responding after a large Christian concert drew thousands of people, many without masks, to downtown Nashville this weekend.

At Thursday’s weekly Metro Coronavirus news conference, police explained how they handled a <a title=”Thousands attend event outside Metro Courthouse” href=”https://www.wsmv.com/tncms/asset/editorial/bd81ba6e-0ca3-11eb-ba1c-076daeeea878/”>gathering in Public Square by Christian worship leader Sean Feucht on Sunday.</a>

The large religious event was held without any permits or without any notice officially to the Metro Police Department.

However, Metro Police explained they did know about the event in advance. Acting Chief John Drake said the department knew about it from a Facebook post. Their threat assessment team decided it was no real reason for concern.

“Our threat assessment center looked at it and assessed it that is was going to be no larger than 200 people,” Drake said.

Drake said after the <a title=”Metro determining if religious event broke rules” href=”https://www.wsmv.com/tncms/asset/editorial/02f0caf4-0d99-11eb-ad3c-cf2574d662b6/”>police department got a lot of calls, the on-duty sergeant drove by</a>.

“We had an on duty sergeant who drove by – he looked at the event and saw that it wasn’t disorderly,” Drake said. “They were not about to march on the street, and so he made the decision not to notify any of the command staff.”

Drake said he was not happy with the decision.

“I had a very pointed conversation with our leadership earlier this week to be sure that notification is always made,” Drake said.

This event comes as Nashville’s COVID-19 numbers are on the increase. Mayor John Cooper said the city will stay in Phase 3. Cooper added businesses are doing their part and he will not enact more restrictions on bars, restaurants and gatherings.

“It comes down to you,” Cooper said.

When asked if police would do anything differently, Drake said at least they could have enforced a mask ordinance and encourage social distancing.

“We’re trying to gather more information before we consider issuing citations,” Hugh Atkins with Metro Public Health Department said. “The gathering was in violation of local health orders.”

News 4 also learned many of the people here were believed to have come from out of town following the musician worship leader from other cities. Drake said they are contacting anyone that was involved in the event.

Feucht has been doing these tours across the country and calling it “Let Us Worship.” In Tennessee, there are no restrictions on how many people can gather for religious observances.