Justin Jones Outburst Proves Civilian Oversight Board a Bad Idea, FOP Says

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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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]





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One Thought to “Justin Jones Outburst Proves Civilian Oversight Board a Bad Idea, FOP Says”

  1. There is only one possible outcome of forming an oversight board. While its proponents think this will be a magic pill, they are in for a rude awakening. You will see a police force transformed into a bunch of meter maids and traffic cops, at best. This board would essentially neuter the Metro PD. Every officer would be thinking twice or even three or four times before engaging in a situation, thinking first about how doing so would personally affect them. Simple answer – it just wouldn’t be worth it putting themselves out there like that.

    So, instead of enforcing the law, you would find more instances of them standing there watching a crime committed. All that would be missing is the popcorn. Look at any city that has imposed a board, and look at the results. Nashville is only one of many cities radicalized over the last decade where a cop will now have two choices: the possibility of getting shot or being brought in front of a kangaroo court. Great options, huh?

    So, Nashville, what’s better for you? A system with some problems that can be addressed and fixed, or the wild west? If the agitators would learn a little civility and civics, we wouldn’t even be talking about this today. Unfortunately, their response will always be, “Well, it’ll be different this time.” Sure it will, sure it will.