Members of the Nashville Metro Council are scheduled to vote on Tuesday on appointing or reappointing open seats on the city’s Community Oversight Board (COB).
Several social justice advocates who are critical of law enforcement serve on the Nashville COB.
“One thing council members will be considering at Tuesday’s meeting is whether each nominee can be fair when reviewing cases that could be controversial, including investigations into a record-setting 10 shootings by police last year,” according to the Nashville-based WPLN.
The public radio station reported Monday that Jamel Campbell-Gooch is one nominee. He has said many controversial things during his current tenure. Campbell-Gooch has asserted that any police responses that challenge the COB are “a normal racist response to Black people.”
Campbell-Gooch suggested that sharply reducing police funding and making law enforcement officers subordinate to civilian oversight will stop riots.
Campbell-Gooch, speaking of a Metro Nashville Police (MNPD) budget increase, said in June that society founded the police “to catch slaves.”
Another nominee, Walter Holloway, is a retired police officer. He has previously accused the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) of trying to destroy the credibility of the COB.
WPLN also reported that Metro Council members will vote on two new nominees, as recommended by various community organizations.
One, Michael Milliner, is a real estate agent and member of Nashville’s chapter of the NAACP. Another nominee, Maxine Spencer, is a black trans woman whose father and uncle served as police officers, the station reported.
Nashville voters approved the formation of the civilian oversight board 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.”
COB Executive Director Jill Fitcheard makes more than $116,000 per year, according to a public records request last year – a substantial increase over what she made as assistant executive director.
The Tennessee Star filed a public records request in July asking for information about what Fitcheard makes this fiscal year and what she made in Fiscal Year 2020. Those records show she made more than $42,000 as the COB’s assistant executive director; and that she made $62,000 per year after her promotion to COB executive director. As of 2021, Fitcheard, as the board’s executive director, makes a six-figure salary.
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