Mid-South officials say they’re preparing for FBI warning of armed protests in coming days

FBI issues warning about potential violence at state capitols

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A new warning leaked from the Federal Bureau of Investigation says there are plans for armed protests in all 50 state capitols and in Washington D.C. leading up to the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden.

According to the internal bulletin from the FBI that was leaked to the public, these armed protests may target local, state and federal government buildings.

The FBI warns there are plans by extremists groups to protest at all 50 state capitols and at other federal, state and local government buildings starting Jan. 16 and leading up to the inauguration on Jan. 20.

“I assure everyone that we’re going to protect individuals, citizens and public servants as they are in the Capitol as well as the Capitol itself as the seat of our democracy here in Arkansas,” said Asa Hutchinson, governor of Arkansas.

Arkansas State Police told WMC Action News 5 Tuesday they do not discuss security at the state Capitol in Little Rock but they will be more cautious when there are nationwide threats like this.

Hutchinson said he would call in the National Guard if civilian law enforcement cannot properly handle any protests that might arise at the capitol, but he believes protests are unlikely.

“I’m hopeful that it’s less likely to happen here,” said Hutchinson. “I have confidence both in our law enforcement capacity but also in our citizens.”

In Mississippi, Department of Finance and Administration Spokesperson Marcy Scroggins was quoted in a Clarion Ledger story on Monday saying: “We are aware of the protests, but unfortunately we are not able to discuss protocols or security measures that are in place.”

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves was about security during his Tuesday press briefing.

“I want everyone to understand that in Mississippi, we are prepared and we will be prepared,” he said.

In Tennessee, the Nashville Chief of Police John Drake sent a letter to the Nashville City Council Monday.

In the letter, Drake said there is no imminent threat of danger or violence but the police department is closely monitoring plans for a protest this coming Sunday connected to rallies at state capitols across the country and a Pro-Trump rally scheduled on inauguration day.

Locally in Memphis, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office says they’re not aware of any threats at this time but deputies will be on high alert protecting the Shelby County Government building in the coming days.

We have also reached out to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee regarding this story twice in the past two days.

All we received is this one-sentence statement: “All appropriate steps will be taken to enforce state law.”

Our attempts to reach the Memphis Police Department regarding this story were not returned by the time this story was published.

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