Nashville residents voted to create a citizen-led police oversight board, passing an amendment to do so by a margin of 59 percent.
Supporters of the new measure -known as “Amendment 1” and part of Nashville Metro’s governing document- were overjoyed to win, despite opposition by the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police.
The move for Amendment 1 was allegedly inspired by two relatively-recent shootings in the city, involving black suspects and white officers. The first shooting involved 30-year-old Jocques Clemmons in 2017, while the second was the July 2018 shooting of 25-year-old Daniel Hambrick, who police claim was armed.
With the new move, Nashville will now join a slew of major Southern cities with oversight committees, including Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis, Austin and Denver.
Social justice advocacy group Community Oversight Now praised the voters who made the amendment a reality.
“This victory is the outgrowth of a people’s movement…te transformative energy of hundreds of volunteers and everyday people representing diverse racial and ethnic groups, faith traditions, young and old,” the group said in a statement.
According to the Tennessean, NFOP President James Smallwood vowed to respect the decision made by the people of Nashville.
“While the Fraternal Order of Police remains firm in its belief that this board will only create a divide between law enforcement and the public, we recognize that the voters have spoken, and we will respect the rule of law and the will of the people we serve,” he said.
The NFOP is continuing to officially oppose the measure, however, as they believe several flaws exist in the amendment.
“While it is our intention to respect the rule of law and work with the administration as they implement this new legislation, we fully intend to stand alongside our members and ensure that their rights are preserved, they deserve nothing less,” said Smallwood.
Democratic Mayor of Nashville David Briley initially opposed Amendment 1, but has since begin creating plans to set up an oversight panel.
“The people of Nashville have spoken,” Briley said in a statement. “As I’ve said all along, I will support this amendment, and I will start by meeting with involved parties as early as next week. I have always asserted that civilian oversight is essential to ensuring that we have a 21st-century approach to policing. Thankfully best practices exist to help us chart a path forward, and I will do all I can to help ensure the Community Oversight Board is successful.”
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