The disruptions at last weekend’s Marsha Blackburn rally, and protestors’ lack of understanding of the law, make a good case against a proposed Civilian Oversight Board, said the president of the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police.
The belligerent attitudes of the people who caused those disruptions also make a good argument against the proposed board, said FOP Andrew Jackson Lodge No. 5 President James Smallwood.
As reported, Vandebilt Divinity School student Justin Jones, who moved to Nashville in 2013 from Hercules, California to enroll at Fisk University, attended the rally at the Ray Stevens CabaRay Showroom. Organizers of the private event — on private property — recognized Jones as a troublemaker at previous events. They asked Jones to leave. Jones refused, because he said he had a right to attend, regardless.
“I think Mr. Jones’ lack of understanding of how the law actually works is a perfect example of why we don’t need a civilian oversight board, as written. Mr. Jones violated the law. He refused to comply with police orders and, unfortunately, he was resistant and non-compliant and caused officers to have to go hands on,” Smallwood told The Tennessee Star.
“Now, I didn’t see any kind of abuse of power or use of force that was out of line with current policies and procedures in Tennessee law. Saying this is a perfect example of why we need a civilian oversight board is actually a perfect example of why people that don’t have any training, knowledge, or experience in police practices in Tennessee state law should not be overseeing police practices. They should not get $10 million over five years.”
Law enforcement officers forced Jones out of the showroom Sunday and detained him. Jones later said officers abused him and that what happened that day proves Nashville needs a civilian oversight board.
Many of the people who have since commented on Jones’ personal Facebook page say they agree with Jones.
But Jones and his followers have it wrong, Smallwood said.
“If your refusal causes you to be arrested and then your demand is ‘Well, I was wrongfully arrested, and this is why we need a civilian oversight board’ then that’s a blatant and obvious reason why we don’t need one,” Smallwood said.
People who want to understand law enforcement are better off taking appropriate training to understand the law, police practices and how to apply those practices in several different scenarios, Smallwood said.
As reported, FOP members say they have serious constitutional concerns about the proposed Amendment One, which would create the civilian oversight board over police.
Voters will decide the matter Tuesday.
FOP members said the board is not set up for fact finding and truth finding and will waste $10 million in taxpayer money.
As The Tennessee Star reported, if Nashville voters say yes then, long-term, many officers will feel less valued and they will resign, said Metro Nashville Council member Steve Glover.
As reported, this proposed oversight board, assuming the referendum passes, would have 11 members. Seven of those members would come from any part of Davidson County. The remaining four would come from Nashville’s economically distressed communities.
Metro Nashville Council members get to decide who serves.
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