‘Justice for Jefferson Street Coalition’ disputes proposed police headquarters in court

Justice for Jefferson Coalition at the press conference in front of Metro Historic Courthouse on Monday, June 1, 2015 (Justice for Jefferson Coalition Facebook page). 

Justice for Jefferson Coalition at the press conference in front of Metro Historic Courthouse on Monday, June 1, 2015 (Justice for Jefferson Coalition Facebook page).

A coalition of residents, civic leaders, students, and community members announced their formal requests for investigations into federal civil rights violations regarding the new police headquarters on historic Jefferson Street and racial profiling in Nashville. The press conference took place on June 1 at the Metro Historic Courthouse, One Public Square, in downtown Nashville.

An official civil rights complaint was filed with the Title VI TDOT Civil Rights Office on June 1. The complaint is brought against the Office of the Mayor for Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County Government and the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) by the Justice for Jefferson Street Coalition and the African American Cultural Alliance. The complaint alleges that Metro Nashville and MNPD excluded large portions of North Nashville and African American residents in its decision to build a new MNPD headquarters on historic Jefferson Street.

They want the Metro Council to reject the project.

The Nashville Chapter of Black Lives Matter and other community members are submitting a separate request to the Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The request asks the DOJ to investigate MNPD’s administration of the Operation Safer Streets program. A preliminary investigation found that Operation Safer Streets selectively and overwhelmingly targets communities of color, with more than 16,000 motorists and residents stopped by this program from January 2014-May 2015.

Mayor Karl Dean proposed in April the relocation of the police headquarters from the dilapidated downtown Criminal Justice Center to a new $23 million facility on Jefferson Street.