Nashville Police charge street racers & spectators with rioting in weekend arrests

Nashville Police charge street racers & spectators with rioting in weekend arrests

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This story is brought to you by Scoop: Nashville as part of the #bspotter / #VisitMusicCity series which features tourist and downtown-related arrests in Music City.


If they catch you, you’re going down. That seems to be the new sentiment of Metro Nashville Police Officers after three teenagers died while fleeing a street racer gathering this weekend. Earlier this year, the Street Racer Initiative charged Keller Moore with inciting a riot, in what most called a misdirected charge. Moore was one of the few that hosted high-end car shows that attracted hundreds, if not thousands, of cars from throughout the Southeast – shows which were calm and never caused any trouble more than some traffic backup near the event locations – many of which were pre-approved. Since that arrest, there have only been minor charges against actual street racers – a few reckless driving citations and the occasional traffic accident.

All that changed this weekend after three Franklin teenagers died after crashing while fleeing from a Street Racing Initiative officer. Those teens were coming from a Powell Ave location where just under 200 cars were meeting up for a sideshow. Though MNPD is ill-equipped to catch up with and/or track more than one street racer at a time, they were able to stop at least one vehicle from the massive meet and charged two people with rioting — an old but new part of their playbook. There hasn’t been much appetite for actually prosecuting Moore on the original charge, and attorneys tell Scoop: Nashville they don’t expect the charge to do anything but help to deter other street racers from assembling — which is likely the same hopeful outcome of the latest arrests this weekend.

Officers charged a 19-year-old female, Angel Shepherd, and a 21-year-old male, Darius Bowins, with participating in a riot. While this may sound like a serious charge, and it will likely have the desired impact of scaring people from participating, the charge is a misdemeanor, and both individuals were given pre-trial release. Officers justified the charges by noting both individuals came with the intent to participate in the event, which contained “lawless activities,” including vehicles fleeing from police and trespassing. They state the female ” knowingly observed the events, and participated/observed the slideshow.” In addition, they say the male also was part of a group within the riot who all wore the same mask, showing their planning for the riot, and his attempt to hide his identity from law enforcement.

Despite attempts to hide their locations and plans from police, their Telegram chats, Instagram chats, Snapchat, and even group texts have been infiltrated by police, who attempt to deter the meets — but only have limited air and ground resources to deploy. For now, the meets will likely continue to happen, because the chances of being caught continue to be about 1/200. Those who are charged will likely be a deterrent for others and not a punishment for themselves, other than the chilling effect of being charged with rioting… likely to be later dismissed.

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