Verified: Remainder of Community Oversight Board Are Registered Voters in Accordance with Law

The remainder of Nashville’s Community Oversight Board (COB) are registered voters in Davidson County. The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office confirmed this information with The Tennessee Star.

The Star inquired initially after discovering that a recently-resigned member of the COB, Ovid Timothy Hughes, isn’t a registered voter. Hughes was convicted of a felony in 2008 – mail fraud committed against a previous employer. Not only did Hughes not disclose this information, he stated falsely before the Metro Nashville City Council that he was a registered voter.

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The Tennessee Star’s Own Corinne Murdock Unable to Verify Previous Background Claims of COB’s Executive Director Fitcheard

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Tennessee Star investigative reporter Corinne Murdock to the studio to discuss the lack of background information of Executive Director Jill Fitcheard of the Community Oversight Board.

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Vice Mayor Shulman Says Metro Council Will Revisit Verification Process for Community Oversight Board Members

Metro Nashville’s Community Oversight Board (COB) members aren’t vetted prior to appointment – officials say they’re taken at their word. However, the shakiness of this method was exposed/ proved unreliable after The Tennessee Star discovered that recently-resigned member Ovid Timothy Hughes isn’t a registered voter, as he’d claimed and as was required of him by law. Hughes is a convicted felon, tried and charged in 2008 for mail fraud. He racked up over $78,000 of fraudulent charges against a previous employer using stolen credit card and account information. 

Nashville Vice Mayor Jim Shulman spoke with The Star about this revelation. He assured us that they would be taking extra steps in the future to verify all COB applicants’ voting eligibility.

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Executive Director of Community Oversight Board Not Responding to Questions About Vetting Board Members

Not all members of the Nashville Community Oversight Board (COB) have been entirely truthful with the public they serve – or the police they’re entrusted to hold accountable. Over the weekend, The Tennessee Star uncovered information that a recently-resigned member of the COB, Ovid Timothy Hughes, may have misled officials about his voting status in order to be appointed. COB Executive Director Jill Fitcheard hasn’t responded to The Star about why he wasn’t vetted prior to his appointment.

The COB is tasked with investigating police misconduct allegations, as well as issuing reports and recommendations based on research of misconduct, public safety, and the administration of justice. Those responsibilities necessitate a series of requirements for membership. Individuals must be registered voters in Davidson County; residents of the county for at least one year; and be nominated by a community organization, a petition of at least 50 county residents, or at least one Metro City Council member. Members can’t be current law enforcement members or have been one in the last five years, elected officials, or the spouse of any of the former. Members must also agree to continuous trainings in areas such as civil rights, equity, criminal justice, policing practices, cultural diversity, sexual harassment awareness. However, it is unclear if members are vetted prior to their appointment.

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