Their tactics have angered tens of thousands of Nashville residents, after a video of their antics went viral over the weekend, but the ‘NightGoonz’ car club says it was all for a reason – to bring attention to the lack of public meeting spaces for car clubs in Nashville, and they want a meeting with Mayor Briley to discuss options. A member of the club says when they stopped traffic for several minutes on I-24 in Antioch late Saturday night, it was a protest to get the attention of the city, and specifically Mayor Briley.
The Mayor’s office had not yet responded to our inquiries at time of publication.
The entire incident began hours earlier, when members of several car clubs had met on the private property of a business, and were eventually ushered away from the area, with each going their own way. Some members of this and other car clubs have met with Metro officials recently, in an attempt to find suitable space, and to attempt to not have MNPD break up their club meets as soon as they’re parked – and Metro was responsive to some of their needs. You can see the details of those talks, including a meeting with CM Jeff Syracuse here. It’s important to note that the car club that organized the shutdown is not the same club that met with their council member, in an effort to do it legally, they are a spin-off that includes some former members of the group that were not as interested in doing things legally. Here is the statement sent to Scoop: Nashville, by the ‘NightGoonz’ car club, which organized the shutdown:
The choice of the location, just inside Davidson County, was not by chance. A member of the ‘NightGoonz’ car club is seen on video, explaining they will go from Rutherford County to Davidson County on Interstate 24, so that if Rutherford County comes after them, they will be in Davidson County pretty quickly, where the Metro Nashville Police Department will just tell them to ‘go home’.
James Smallwood, President of the local Fraternal Order of Police responded with the statement below:
“People who are willing to risk their lives and the lives of thousands of other commuters by physically blocking the interstate is dangerous and disturbing. Even more disturbing, however, is the fact that they are blatantly obvious about coming to Davidson county to avoid criminal prosecution. The leaders of Nashville’s criminal justice system have failed to handle these incidents appropriately and, as such, are responsible for this disruption in our community. They should be held accountable for their failures. We encourage Nashvillian’s to remember this reckless disregard for public safety whenever they have the ability to effect change in that realm. Politics should never come before public safety.”
Metro Nashville Police Department confirmed that the MNPD, THP, LaVergne PD & their law enforcement partners are actively investigating this incident, however would not go as far as to comment on the statements made by organizer about choosing Davidson County because Metro PD would tell them to ‘go home’ if caught.
We couldn’t find any other car club in the city that agreed with their tactics, every other club we spoke with rebuffed the tactics of this group, despite their stated goal.
At the end of the day, all the group seems to have accomplished is an active police investigation by several agencies, and a sour taste left in the mouths of city officials who will be the one’s approving permits for the car clubs that wish to do things legally in the future.
This is a developing story, and we will update as other city departments respond to our inquiries.