Community Oversight Now Coalition files ethics complaint against Mayor

Theeda Murphy, “Community Oversight Now” member, filing an ethics complaint against Mayor Barry (photo by Marcus Jones).

Community Oversight Now Coalition filed an ethics complaint with the Metro Council against Mayor Megan Barry Wednesday afternoon.

Mayor Barry admitted to having an extramarital affair with her former head of security, Sgt. Robert Forrest, that began shortly after she took office.

The complaint filed by Theeda Murphy of Community Oversight now claims that Barry’s indiscretions caused her to act unethically, and improperly influenced her decision on the formation of a community oversight board.

“Every time we interacted with her, we kept hitting this wall and we didn’t know why until it led to that point in the meeting where one of us asked her what do they have over you because we had gotten so frustrated,” said Murphy. “So, when we learned of this last week it was one of those gut-punch aha moments.”

The complaint claims that “Regardless of whether anyone was aware or actively advocating to influence her decisions regarding any issue of public safety policy which was at odds with the official (police) position, the simple fact is she knew there was at least one officer who could air her dirty laundry at a moment’s notice and that fact alone brings into question her ability to be an honest broker in any discussion or consideration of these issues.”

In relation to the complaint, the Mayor’s office released a statement saying, “Mayor Barry has taken policy positions she believes are in the best interest of the entire community based on staff and community input. The COB legislation was deferred indefinitely by the Metro Council and only five of 39 members voted in favor of bringing it back for consideration.

The Mayor’s Office has been working with the Policing Project to bring them to Nashville to help facilitate conversations with many issues related to policing, including greater community involvement.

We hope that those conversations will help to inform conversations about community oversight.

We will cooperate with any investigations into the matter of the Mayor’s relationship.”

On Tuesday, the Nashville Metro Council voted to form a special investigative committee amid questions surrounding the Mayor’s travel schedule and whether or not city resources were improperly used.

Additionally, District Attorney General Glenn Funk has asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to look into whether Barry violated any criminal law, including misappropriation of public funds and official misconduct.

Here is the complaint filed against Mayor Megan Barry.