Letter from Larry Woods

Letter from Larry Woods

If you believe as I do that we need a civilian review board to investigate and make recommendations about Police Department practices and policies in Nashville, please forward to every Nashville voter you know my essay below to vote "for ratification" on Amendment One on the election ballot starting this week

Attorney Larry Woods

Fellowship Gathering: Faith Leaders and Allies Call on Nashville Voters to Vote For Amendment 1

Nashville, TN - Today, at 5:00pm, faith leaders and allies will meet outside of the Metropolitan Nashville Council (2nd Floor, One Public Square) for a Fellowship Gathering. Faith leaders will give a spiritual offering to Nashville and call on voters to support Amendment 1, which will create a Community Oversight Board.

Faith leaders have been at the forefront of police reform, equity, community restoration, and collective efforts to build positive relations between law enforcement and marginalized communities. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called for a civilian/community oversight boards in the 1960s in cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Faith leaders also pushed for civilian oversight in Nashville in the 1970s and 1990s.

The push for independent and investigative Community Oversight Board is necessary to restore accountability, transparency, and ethics in our government. A vote FOR Amendment 1 represents Nashville’s best chance to address police accountability and build a Beloved Community after the tragic police killings in recent years.

Community Oversight Now Establishes the Accountability Matters PAC

The Community Oversight Now coalition has established a single-measure committee (also known as a political action committee or PAC) called Accountability Matters. The PAC is organized for the sole purpose of raising funds to support the passage of the Community Oversight Board (COB) referendum in the November 6, 2018 election. The COB intends to address police accountability and review policies across all Metro Nashville departments that interact with the criminal justice system. This includes providing an impartial avenue for residents to file complaints related to allegations of police misconduct. The push for an independent and investigative COB is urgently needed to restore accountability, transparency, and ethics in our government. Donations can be to Accountability Matters and mailed to P.O. Box 280962, Nashville, TN 37228, or submitted online at https://donorbox.org/accountabilitymatters.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT

Community Oversight Now 615-375-6094 – nashvillecob@gmail.com - https://www.facebook.com/NashvilleCOB/

Statement by Community Oversight Now About Mayor David Briley and the Policing Project

Nashville, TN - As a collaboration of grassroots organizations working on police accountability and a Community Oversight Board, Community Oversight Now extends our sincere condolence to Daniel Hambrick’s family for the tragic loss of their son on July 26, 2018. Mr. Hambrick was shot in the back by MNPD Officer Andrew Delke during a foot chase. The videotape of the incident released on August 8 clearly shows that Mr. Hambrick was running away as he was shot. We are calling upon District Attorney Glenn Funk to bring an indictment of murder against Officer Delke.

We are deeply disappointed in Mayor David Briley’s press conference delivered on August 8, shortly before the release of the videotape. Unfortunately, his tone-deaf response to the public outcry after the killing of yet another Black man by a white officer represents politics as usual in a Southern city and a slap in the face of the Black community.

In response to the shooting, the mayor reintroduced the NYU Policing Project to Nashville. The Policing Project was first introduced by Mayor Megan Barry and her purposeful attempt to counter the Community Oversight Board proposal that was developed after the killing of Jocques Clemmons in February 2017. It was brought to Nashville with no vetting, little transparency, and mostly by advocates with little experience working and living in heavily-policed communities. The fact that Mayor Briley continues to use the Policing Project to counter local grassroots activists in Nashville’s black community is insulting and smacks of racial paternalism.

The Policing Project has nothing to do with police accountability. It only proposes a cost-benefit analysis of traffic stops and related matters - that is to study a problem that has already been studied in the “Driving While Black” report produced by Gideon’s Army. It is an initiative that will be managed and controlled by Chief Steve Anderson and discarded in a couple of years. Briley’s embrace of the Policing Project is a cynical display of governance. It intends to disempower local activists, particularly African Americans heavily invested in police accountability.

The Community Oversight Board proposal has been embraced by dozens of activists, groups, and Nashville residents across racial, neighborhood, and socioeconomic lines. The Tennessee NAACP has also been a consistent proponent of the oversight board proposal. Community Oversight Now and other allies are working to put the oversight board proposal up for a vote in the November 6th elections.

Nashville’s civil rights leaders have been calling for an oversight board since the early 1970s. In addition to the killings of Mr. Hambrick and Clemmons, the following issues also cause us great concern:

  • There are nearly 700 complaints each year against MNPD officers and 98% of these are decided in favor of law enforcement.

  • The “Driving While Black” report authored by Gideon’s Army assessed 2 million MNPD stops from 2011-2015. It found that blacks are disproportionately the targets of police stops and consent searches.

  • Assessments from the District Attorney and U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service department have noted institutional bias in the action of the MNPD.

Now is the time to establish a Community Oversight Board. We are calling upon the Mayor, the Metro Nashville Council, and people of good will to support the charter referendum petition for an oversight board. The majority of Nashville wants it. Stand with us! Stand with the Hambrick family! Stand with the Clemmons family!