A traveling evangelist’s latest run-in with Metro police officers has led to her arrest for allegedly assaulting an officer with pepper spray.
Metro police — responding to a disorderly person call at about 1:20 a.m. Saturday at Second Avenue North and Broadway — said Glynis Bethel, 48, sprayed another woman and then a police officer with pepper spray, according to an affidavit.
Police arrested and charged Bethel with resisting arrest, assault of an officer and assault. As of Monday morning, Bethel remained in Davidson County jail in lieu of $10,000 bond.
The reported victim in Saturday morning’s incident told police that she was trying to separate her friend from an argument with Bethel and others, who wore shirts sporting slogans such as “God hates gays” and “God hates whores,” according to the affidavit. Bethel allegedly sprayed the woman in the face, according to police.
The affidavit states that a nearby police officer dressed in plainclothes caught the altercation on tape.
While police were investigating the incident, they said Bethel tried to leave. When an officer approached to stop her, she allegedly sprayed the officer in the face.
Metro police were familiar with Bethel and her family. At last Friday’s weekly police Compstat meeting, a Central Precinct lieutenant said officers who patrol downtown have responded to several other incidents in which Bethel family members were somehow allegedly involved during the past couple of weeks.
In April, Bethel and her husband tried to enroll their children, whom they claimed were homeless, at Brentwood High School, but school officials denied the admission, claiming that the family actually had a permanent residence in Alabama.
Shortly afterward, the Bethels filed a federal lawsuit in Nashville against Brentwood High School and the Williamson County school system for allegedly violating their civil rights by not allowing them to distribute religious literature on school property.
Bethel and her family, which includes three minor children who join in the family practice of evangelizing, filed a similar suit against the Nashville Public Library in May after library staff told them they couldn’t pass out unapproved printed materials inside the library.