Certain Candidates for Nashville’s Community Oversight Board Have Record of Hostility, Mistrust Toward Police

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 critical of law enforcement serve on the Nashville COB.

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Nashville Community Oversight Board Votes in Opposition to License Plate Readers

A majority of members on the Community Oversight Board on Monday voted against a measure to pass any license plate reader (LPR) bills.

The vote from the group comes as the Metro Council has proposed two separate bills that would allow the cameras to be installed around the city.

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Nashville Community Oversight Board Seeks to Suspend MNPD Officer

Members of Nashville’s Community Oversight Board (COB) recommended unanimously this week that the Metro Nashville Police Department suspend a commander for reportedly executing a search warrant on the wrong family. This, according to Main Street Nashville, which said COB members recommended a 10-day suspension.

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Nashville Community Oversight Board to Propose New Policy on How Police Officers Handle People Resisting Arrest

Members of Nashville’s Community Oversight Board (COB) have scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday where they plan to call upon Metro Nashville Police (MNPD) to document all uses of “soft empty-hand control” techniques.

This, according to Wednesday’s COB meeting agenda.

The MNPD manual defines “soft empty-hand control” as using physical strength to control people who resist arrest. The manual goes on to say that these techniques include pain compliance pressure points, controlled takedowns, joint manipulation, or simply grabbing a subject.

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Nashville Community Oversight Board Director Makes Six-Figure Salary, Public Records Show

Metro Nashville Community Oversight Board (COB) Executive Director Jill Fitcheard makes more than $116,000 per year, according to public records, and that’s a generous pay 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.

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Metro Nashville City Council Votes to Increase Police Spending by $10.5 Million in Finalized Budget; Activists Disrupt Meeting

Activists Disrupt Meeting

Metro Nashville City Council voted to increase its spending on Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) by $10.5 million, per the finalized budget. Mayor John Cooper approved the budget on Wednesday. Some of this funding will go toward the new southeast precinct, totaling up a 5 percent increase. Overall, the budget sits at around $2.6 billion. 

Following passage of the budget during Tuesday’s meeting, the Nashville People’s Budget Coalition shouted down the council members during its 45 minute recess. As a result, the council was unable to continue its business on time.

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Nashville’s Community Oversight Board Wants Metro Police to Increase Diversity Hires Based on NAACP-Prompted Report

Metro Nashville’s Community Oversight Board (COB) wants the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) to prioritize diversity when hiring. This came out of an advisory report focused on reforming MNPD hiring procedures, requested by the Nashville NAACP. In the conclusion of its report, the COB insinuated it wasn’t enough for MNPD’s current standards to hire applicants who are critical thinkers, empathetic, problem solvers, good communicators, and have integrity. They recommended that MNPD prioritize diversity more.

“The data analysis in this report shows that there are racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in the hiring process that should be evaluated and addressed so that the goal of diversifying the police force can become a reality,” read the report’s conclusion. “The eleven recommendations offered in this report aim to encourage community, transparency, accountability, equity, justice, and evidence as core components of the police department.”

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Tennessee Senate Reschedules Bill Requiring Police Oversight Boards to Undergo Citizen Police Academy, Will Vote Monday

The Tennessee Senate is scheduled on Monday to vote on whether local community oversight boards must undergo citizen police academy.

If passed, current community oversight board members will have until June 30 of next year to complete a citizen police academy or any similar program. After that, any members appointed after July 1 of this year will have one year. Any members who fail to complete the academy or similar program will have their voting powers revoked. Voting rights would be restored upon completion of the academy. 

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Social Justice Cliques: Inside Tennessee’s Community Oversight Boards and Their Relationships with Local Police Departments

Any time an officer-involved shooting or alleged police misconduct occurs, community oversight boards are thrust center stage. In response to activists’ social justice demands over the years, some of Tennessee’s major cities – like Memphis, Knoxville, and Nashville – have established versions of community oversight boards to review police misconduct and accountability. It comes as no surprise, then, that the majority within these community oversight boards share similar social justice inclinations. 

A large portion of members’ concerns has to do with race, such as racial profiling in arrests or traffic stops, or concerning officer-involved shootings. In its latest meeting, Knoxville’s community oversight board expressed surprise that no racial discrimination claims were filed per their quarterly report. Other popular topics include equity, restorative justice, immigration, and mental health.

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Nashville Attorneys Offers Up $2.25 Million Settlement for Daniel Hambrick Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Metro Nashville attorneys settled for $2.25 million with the parents of Daniel Hambrick in their wrongful death lawsuit. That settlement wouldn’t bring closure to the entirety of the ordeal, however. The settlement will not resolve a separate case concerning Andrew Delke, the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) officer who shot Hambrick. Delke still faces a first-degree murder charge.

By offering this settlement, Metro government clarified that neither they or Delke were admitting to any wrongdoing or liability. Metropolitan Director of Law Bob Cooper suggested that this settlement would help offer some closure for the community.

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Resigned Community Oversight Board Member Is a Convicted Felon, Not Registered Voter as Required by Tennessee Law

Previous Community Oversight Board (COB) member Ovid Timothy Hughes somehow skirted the Tennessee Code’s standards for COB membership. Hughes isn’t a registered voter – he’s a convicted felon. That begs the question: the COB’s purpose is to ensure police accountability on issues such as misconduct, but what happens when the members themselves aren’t being held accountable?

The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office confirmed with The Tennessee Star that Hughes isn’t an eligible voter. They explained that he was purged in 2008 for a felony conviction. This corroborates with details The Star reported on Friday. Hughes was arrested and charged for mail fraud, spending over $78,000 on items such as computer equipment and designer clothing using stolen credit card and private account information from a former employer.

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Nashville Community Oversight Board Member Who Resigned Unexpectedly Has Lengthy Criminal Record

Up until last week Ovid Timothy Hughes was a member of Nashville’s Community Oversight Board (COB), dedicated to enforcing police accountability. However, Hughes wasn’t your typical concerned citizen on the COB – he has a lengthy criminal history himself. 

Between 2001 and 2002, Hughes racked up several felony charges for burglary. He was sentenced to two years in the private prison Corrections Corporation of America, now known as CoreCivic, and two years’ probation. Then in 2008, Hughes was arrested and charged for mail fraud. Hughes had reportedly stolen credit card and private account information from his previous employer. From 2006 to 2007, Hughes used the information to spend over $78,000 on items such as computer equipment and designer clothing.

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Metro Nashville City Council Votes Exclusively for Social Justice Proponents to Serve on Community Oversight Board

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.

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Metro Nashville Council Committee Objects to Dr. Carol Swain’s Qualifications for Community Oversight Board

Metro Nashville City Council’s Community Oversight Board (COB) might continue to behave more like a police oversight board. During a special interview meeting on Thursday, the council’s Committee on Rules, Confirmations, and Public Elections raised objections to only one nominee: Dr. Carol Swain. The committee also posed slanted questions to those nominees that had law enforcement relationships or affiliations.

Swain stated that her qualifications include her 18 years as a Vanderbilt political science and law professor, her degrees in law and criminal justice, her two appointments to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission Tennessee Advisory Committee, her courses taught on civil rights issues, and her multiple testimonies before Congress on civil rights issues. Additionally, Swain noted that while she was at Princeton University, her two sons experienced racial profiling and her intervention led to an investigation that ended with police reforms not just in the town of Princeton but within the community. However, the committee voted that those weren’t proper qualifications.

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Community Oversight Board Declares Use of Force Consent Decrees for Metro Police

The Community Oversight Board (COB) approved a report issuing use of force consent decree recommendations. Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) will work with the COB to implement these recommendations.
Mayor John Cooper tasked members within the Community Oversight Board to explore use of force policies following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

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Trans Women Will Help Oversee Nashville Police If Community Oversight Board Gets its Way

Trans women of color and formerly incarcerated individuals in Nashville, among other groups, must help city officials monitor members of the Metro Nashville Police Department, said members of the city’s Community Oversight Board.

COB members said this in a letter they sent to Mayor John Cooper this week. Cooper invited members of the COB to serve on a Use of Force Committee. COB members accepted.

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Nashville’s Community Oversight Board Wants to Help Select Police Chief Steve Anderson’s Replacement

  Members of Nashville’s Metro Community Oversight Board plan to help city officials find Nashville’s next police chief. “Following Mayor John Cooper’s announcement today of Chief Steve Anderson’s decision to retire as Chief of Police, the Community Oversight Board (COB) looks forward to being involved in the selection process of…

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Partin Weighs in on Executive Director, William Weeden’s Resignation from Metro Nashville Community Oversight Committee

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Leahy was joined in studio by all-star panelist, Norm Partin to discuss the recent resignation of Metro Nashville Community Oversight Committee (MNCO) Executive Director William Weeden.

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Tennessee Legislature’s Conference Committee Compromises on Community Oversight Board Subpoena Power

A Conference Committee of the Tennessee legislature met on Monday to resolve a major difference between the House and Senate when it comes to community oversight boards – subpoena powers. The Conference Committee, appointed by the Speakers of each respective body included, Senators Mike Bell (R-Riceville), Dawn White (R-Murfreesboro) and…

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The Tennessee Star Report Discusses Legislation to Put Guardrails on Community Oversight Boards with Special Guest State Rep. Mike Curcio

On Tuesday’s Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Gill and Leahy talked about the current oversight boards and the need for ‘guard rails’ to prevent mismanagement by unelected…

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Number of People Applying for Nashville Police Reportedly Falls Dramatically

In 2010 about 4,700 people applied to work as a police officer in Nashville. Seven years later the number of people who wanted to work as a cop in Music City dwindled to just 1,900 people. This, according to the website Oregon Live, which did a story about more and…

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