Nashville’s community oversight board has turned to someone outside of the community – Chicago, to be exact – to lead the organization’s oversight of police.
The oversight board voted Tuesday to offer the executive director job to Chicago attorney William Weeden, Nashville Public Radio said. The board selected Weeden over four other finalists.
Weeden is a civil rights attorney and a former prosecutor and professor of law. He served eight years as a leader of the Independent Police Review Authority in Chicago, Nashville Public Radio said.
Metro Nashville’s website says the board has the power to investigate allegations that MNPD officers have committed misconduct against members of the public. That’s not all of its powers:
The Board has the option to forward resolution reports that produce factual findings of criminal misconduct and civil rights violations to the District Attorney, Grand Jury, or U.S. Attorney. The Board shall have all powers, including the power to compel, identified in Section 18.10 of the Metropolitan Charter.
A biography on Weeden’s law practice website says his previous stints included working for the Cook County (Illinois) State’s Attorney Office and serving as Assistant Attorney General in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, where he prosecuted felony and misdemeanor criminal matters in the Superior Court of the United States Virgin Islands. In addition to civil rights, he handles criminal law and Title IX and school discipline cases.
The Tennessee General Assembly is considering a bill that would limit the powers of Nashville’s community oversight board, The Tennessee Star reported on Feb. 28.
The bill’s caption says the measure would limit “the authority of a community oversight board to the review and consideration of matters reported to it and the issuance of advisory reports and recommendations to agencies involved in public safety and the administration of justice.”
The bills are HB0568 and SB1407. The tracking information is here.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.