Chattanooga-area Black Lives Matter leader Cameron Williams, who led efforts to terrorize a local smokehouse for conducting business with a pro-police group, was arrested over the weekend after turning himself in for engaging in illegal civil unrest.
On Sunday, the Chattanooga Police Department (CPD) released a warrant for Williams’s arrest in addition to warrants for two other demonstrators, including city council candidate Marie Mott. Williams. Mott and another activist face charges of theft worth less than $1,000, vandalism costing less than $1,000, reckless burning, and inciting to riot, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office. Each also face charges of disorderly conduct and blocking a highway.
The charges come after police say activists blocked an intersection and hindered passage of an emergency vehicle pursuing an active call for service. Chattanooga Police told WRCBtv, a local news outlet, they are investigating the scene for additional possible warrants and arrests. They say demonstrators also burned a Hamilton County Sherriff’s Office flag.
“CPD has had numerous discussions with the protestors and officers have blocked streets in order for marches to take place as safely as possible since May 30,” CPD Chief David Roddy told WRCBtv. “I am not blind to the issues being challenged, but I will not allow the protestors to endanger themselves, invoke fear in other community members, and impede emergency services to anyone in this city.”
Two weeks ago, Williams, a 35-year-old protest organzer, also drove campaign to put a local restauarant out of business following false reporting that the small business had been preparing to donate a nearly $1,000 order to a “Back the Blue” rally supportive of local police. Shuford’s Smokehouse clarified that the deal with the pro-police group was merely a business transaction made in an era of ongoing pandemic undertainty in the service industry.
“A lady placed an order Tuesday for food for Saturday. She said she was taking it to the [pro-police] Back the Blue Rally in Chattanooga. It was just a business transaction. We did not donate the food,” Madison Davis, daughter of restaurant owner Jeff, told the Tennessee Star.
Still, egged on by Williams, mob activists flooded the restaurant with negative reviews online and launched a harassment campaign that Davis said prompted employees to take extreme measures to defend themselves.
“We finally got a threat that someone was going to burn our building down where we smoke all of our meat in. That is when we decided to cancel. We didn’t want to do the transaction anymore,” Davis said.
When the smokehouse struck a bargain with Williams to end the harassment campaign by agreeing to make clear the food was not donated, Williams left posts up corralling his followers to demonize the local small business.