Mayor John Cooper said this week that he has asked the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) to strengthen its policies to “explicitly prohibit the use of chokeholds and to further clarify officers’ duty to intervene.”
However, as the statement from Cooper’s office notes, chokeholds are already prohibited under Tennessee law in most circumstances. Additionally, since the Metro Nashville Police Department doesn’t train officers on the technique, chokeholds are “not allowed per Nashville police policy and have not been allowed for decades,” said the statement.
Nonetheless, Cooper said the department has “clarified and strengthened this prohibition in an updated policy bulletin that has been disseminated to all officers.”
In another bulletin, the MNPD reinforced to all officers their obligation to intervene if they observe a fellow officer using excessive force or engaging in other unlawful acts.
“Today we take the important step of MNPD clarifying and strengthening its prohibition on chokeholds and its duty to intervene policies,” said Mayor Cooper. “These actions are important for our city, and they are two clear next steps. As part of the My Brother’s Keeper pledge, we will engage the community and assemble a committee to review all use of force protocols and policies.”
At Cooper’s request, the MNPD also conducted a review of its policies and procedures to check for compliance with the “#8cantwait” national campaign. According to a separate press release, the MNPD already has policies in place supporting the police-reform measures called for by the #8cantwait movement.
Furthermore, Cooper announced Nashville’s commitment to former President Barack Obama’s Mayor Pledge, which calls for engaging the community on use of force policies. Cooper also said he has asked the Metro Nashville Community Oversight Board to conduct an independent review of MNPD’s use of force policies.
“Our police department embraces the principles put forward in #8cantwait, as reflected in a policy comparison we completed late last week,” said Chief Steve Anderson, who announced his retirement Thursday after facing calls to resign. “We will continue to review, improve and strengthen the policies that guide our officers.”
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