JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Officials with the Johnson City Police Department gave their first on-camera interview Tuesday following protests outside of Volunteer Pawn Monday afternoon.
According to a police report, officers first responded to Volunteer Pawn on West Walnut Street Monday afternoon for a reported simple assault.
The report from police read, “Officers were dispatched to the listed location on 10-15 individuals refusing to leave the business.”
The report identified the business manager for Volunteer Pawn as Daryl Lovelace and states he told the group to leave. “The male suspect then when to the front door and attempted to block other individuals from entering.”
Johnson City Police Chief Karl Turner said during Tuesday’s interview that Lovelace is actually the owner of Volunteer Pawn.
“I think there was a heated exchange between people inside the store and outside the store. And the property owners wanting the people outside the store to leave. We were just trying to facilitate that,” said Turner.
The report added that a female tried to leave the business by getting out of the blocked door and that she pushed through the door and knocked Lovelace off balance.
According to officers, Lovelace then “grabbed her arm and spun her to the ground.”
“He grabbed the girl and that led to the charge of assault against the owner of the pawn shop,” said Turner.
The assault victim then went to the Washington County District Attorney’s Office with the officer on scene and obtained a summons. Police said that officers served a criminal summons on Lovelace Monday night.
Johnson City Police Chief Karl Turner explained during Tuesday’s interview why a criminal summons was issued.
“He (the officer) was unsure of the intent of the girl who was leaving the store. Whether her intent was to open the door to assault him or she was simply trying to get out of the pawn shop and accidentally hit him. He wasn’t sure as far as intent that there was an assault that had occurred or what her culpability was in that instance. So they wanted to take it in front of a detached neutral party to make a decision on the probable cause part of the assault,” Turner said.
News Channel 11 reached out to another owner of Volunteer Pawn on Monday. The owner said over the phone they had “nothing to say.”
Another Johnson City Police report detailed an arrest made during the protests that followed that incident on Monday.
In this report, police said an officer responded to Volunteer Pawn where they saw a man approach the sidewalk from across the business.
The man, identified as Randall Gray, was reportedly met by counter protesters.
The report stated the officers saw a fight involving Gray, and others.
Eventually, officers were able to separate those involved.
Gray was walked back toward Volunteer Pawn. News Channel 11’s cameras captured a fight that occurred between Gray and the protesters.
According to the police report, Gray was charged with disorderly conduct for his involvement in the fight.
Chief Turner also addressed this charge during Tuesday’s interview.
“There was a man that was arrested. He came and confronted some of the protesters. One of the protesters approached him. And he knocked a water bottle out of her hand. So officers arrested him for disorderly conduct at that time,” Turner said.
News Channel 11 reported in 2018 that Gray, a former Sullivan County corrections employee, was fired after he was arrested for domestic assault in Johnson City.
Members of the New Panthers said they aren’t satisfied with the police response.
“We felt that pretty much, the JCPD felt like it was okay to allow a store owner to put his hands on a woman,” said member Jackson Brown. “Yeah they charged him, but they didn’t put him in handcuffs. They didn’t take him away.”
The New Panthers said this was unfair when one of their own members was put in handcuffs yesterday for trying to defend herself against Gray.
Katelyn Yarbrough, a leader for local activist group New Generation Freedom Fighters, said the New Panthers are a separate group, though they have some overlapping members. She said her group is more focused on politics and policy change.
“I don’t want anyone to go to jail, I don’t want anymore violence. I don’t want anything bad to happen,” she said. “The Panthers don’t want that either. But they’re prepared to be out in the streets and represent the community in more of an emotional way.”
Yarbrough said she wants the community to understand there are many different legs to the Black Lives Matter movement and all groups take action differently.
“Painting everyone with a broad brush does nothing for everyone,” she said. “No person has walked in everyone else’s shoes. No one’s history is the same. No one’s cause that drives them in the morning to get up out of bed and go protest is the same.”
Tuesday morning, News Channel 11 spotted a few people outside of Volunteer Pawn.
The gate was locked and the business appeared to be closed as of Tuesday morning.
Stay with News Channel 11 as we continue to follow the latest developments on-air and on WJHL.com.