Members of the Metro Nashville Community Oversight Board (COB) this week considered a complaint that an alleged drug dealer filed against four Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) detectives.
The complainant, a female, alleged improper search and seizure. She also said the four detectives threatened her with eviction if she did not consent to the search.
This, after an anonymous person complained to police that the woman was selling drugs out of her home. Detectives at the scene said they detected an odor of marijuana emanating from inside.
The incident occurred in February of 2020.
MNPD detectives asked if they could enter the woman’s home. The woman complied because she said she had nothing to hide, said COB Executive Director Jill Fitcheard.
“She informed the detectives that she did not receive public housing assistance and asked to speak with the property manager. The detectives responded by saying it was the property management’s rule that she would be evicted if she did not cooperate,” Fitcheard told board members.
“She said the detectives intimidated her to make her sign the search warrant. After the detectives informed her that the property manager would evict her if she did not cooperate, the complainant signed the form, allowing detectives to search her residence. She was subsequently charged with three misdemeanor citations and the property seized.”
Fitcheard told COB members that she reviewed the investigative file, the woman’s complaint, and a recorded interview involving all on-scene participants. Fitcheard said the preponderance of the evidence did not support the woman’s allegations against the four detectives.
“The violation is searches by consent. This policy had a change in the way it was written in August [of this year],” Fitcheard said.
The old policy strongly recommended that detectives obtain written consent, Fitcheard said.
“In the new policy, in August of this year, it is the same policy, and the only change is a language change. It says as a side note that it is expected that officers will attempt to obtain written consent. That stronger language came out from another case.”
Nashville voters approved a civilian oversight board over police in 2018.
Nashville Fraternal Order of Police members have long said they have serious constitutional concerns about the board. FOP members have even said the board is “set up for some means of retaliation and retribution for a problem that doesn’t exist.”
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