The Community Oversight Board (COB) received four new members – all bringing similar perspectives and agendas concerning police. Metro Nashville City Council voted on the nominees during a meeting on Tuesday.
None of the nominees from the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) – former mayoral candidate Dr. Carol Swain, former FOP President Mark Wynn, community members Mary Byrd and Brandy Holloway – were selected. Of all the votes cast, Holloway received no votes, Byrd only received one, Swain only received two, and Wynn received ten.
During last week’s interview meeting for the nominees, Swain was the only nominee whose qualifications were objected to by the council’s Committee on Rules, Confirmations, and Public Elections.
Those confirmed were previous COB member Arnold Hayes, retired judge Joe Brown, previous campaign worker for Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN-05) Makayla McCree, and Representative Pramila Jayapal’s (D-WA-07) Health Policy Director Dr. Stephanie Kang.
All four of these members present similar perspectives focused on many of the same social justice ideologies.
In December, Hayes authored an op-ed in The Tennesseean describing how there needed to be greater investigation into “police accountability and systemic racism.” He also accused the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) of racism, sexism, and homophobia.
“This current climate calls on us to take the offensive,” wrote Hayes. “The moderate says obey the law, but they are not the victims of police brutality. The privileged say be patient, but protesting doesn’t mean death for them.”
Brown emphasized during last week’s interview meeting that he’d done many civil rights violations cases against police officers throughout his career.
McCree has a storied history on social justice activism, of which she informed the council. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, McCree attended the Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Nashville last June.
It’s simple! If you’re not an ALLY then you are the ENEMY.
— Makayla McCree (@MakaylaMcCree) May 29, 2020
During her interview, Kang noted that there hadn’t been sufficient representation from the Asian-Pacific Islander community on the board in the past, and she could contribute that. She’s also been a vocal supporter of abolishing the death penalty and the idea that systemic racism is a public health crisis.
The COB was created through a referendum in 2018. According to Amendment 1, the board’s founding purpose was to investigate allegations of police misconduct, propose remedies to police accountability, and issue reports on public safety and justice. In the past year, the board has aided in the selection of a replacement police chief and issued three reports on modifying law enforcement tactics, such as chokeholds and no-knock warrants.
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Nashville City Hall” by Nicolas Henderson. CC BY 2.0.