The recent fatal shooting of Daniel Hambrick has elicited calls for a change in Nashville policing from The National Black Police Association (NBPA), State Representative Harold Love, and the mayor’s office.
The National Black Police Association (NBPA) released a statement calling for a new approach to Nashville policing. The nation’s premiere African-American law enforcement association, says that it is not looking for a “rush judgment,” but that it supports a change to policies and procedures that are occurring in Nashville that cause an “adverse affects on the African American community.”
“We are extremely concerned about the incidents of deaths involving the police and people of color,” the organization said. “While we support and respect the courageous men and women in blue, for doing a very difficult and dangerous job, there is also the expectation of responsibility & accountability.
We cannot continue to have situations such as this that devastate families, divide communities, and cause mistrust in our law enforcement community.”
“After a review of the video, there is much reason for concern due to the disturbing nature of the footage. The community and citizens of Nashville need a renewed hope and restoration of faith that the police and community can depend on each other and work together.”
“Policing should never be brutal against the people we are sworn to protect and serve. We are public servants, and this is why there is no other choice but to bridge the gap between the police and the African American Community. We as stewards of these communities have to ensure equality to all, regardless of their race, gender, or socio-economic status. We must always remain professional, diverse, accountable, and never lose our INTEGRITY.”
Harold Love, who stood next to the mayor when he made the announcement on the release of the video to the public said, “…I stood with Mayor Briley at his press conference in hopes that after the release of the video where Daniel Hambrick was shot and killed that there would be given full support of the Community Oversight Board proposed to be on the ballot this November. Additionally I believed there would be an outline of new policy for better policing of communities of color. Unfortunately that did not happen.”
Rep. Love calls for the reevaluation of MNPD leadership and calls on Briley to give his full support of the Community Oversight Board saying that “It is time for the Mayor’s office to tak ea top-down approach….”
In his address before the city upon the release of the video, Mayor Briley admitted to having some misgivings about Community Oversight Now’s proposal for a community oversight board and called for working with the Policing Project to achieve more police accountability and to guide how the city is policed.
Many feared that the mayor’s office was planning to use the Policing Project to prevent the formation of a citizen’s oversight board, but Briley says that it is something that will work with a community oversight board.
“From my perspective, I look at them as complements to each other,” Briley said. “We need a broad consensus in our community about how to proceed and I think the Policing Project will help with us on that.”
Briley admitted that he was reluctant to express any misgivings about the current community oversight proposal.
“I’ve been saying for months that I believe there ought to be community oversight over the police department,” he said. “I didn’t want to get in the way of what Community Oversight Now is doing in trying to get theirs on the ballot, so I felt it was probably best for me to keep my mouth shut.”
However, upon being asked again and again, he felt that he had to weigh in.
According to Briley, he has three concerns about Community Oversight Now’s plan.
“First I don’t think we ought to be budgeting through charter amendments,” he said. “[Community Oversight Now’s plan] has a provision in it that sets a specific budget. That ought to be up to the council each year to set the budget.”
Second, Briley feels that there needs to be more of a “conversation as a community” so that there will be more of a “buy in” to the organization. Third, Briley says that he wants to make sure that whatever we do as a community is not going to prompt an overreaction from the state legislature.
The mayor also feels that the Policing project coming to Nashville is not contradictory of the ‘Driving While Black” report released by Gideon’s Army, but is an acknowledgement of it.
Briley said that the city needs to “get past conflict on that issue and identify the weaknesses [to] focus on some solutions and make progress in terms of keeping ourselves safe and treating highly policed communities with respect and dignity. We need to follow up on their work with a neutral academic open assessment about what the police department is doing.”
Briley said that Nashville needs to “look into and change the way we do policing,” but that he is not keen on replacing Police Chief Anderson.
“My obligation is to make sure that the police force is operating in the best possible way both to provide public safety and to protect the communities where we have a more high intensity policing,” he said. “I’ve asked the chief to acknowledge that and to work with me to make sure we implement the changes to make sure that’s the case through working through community groups and focusing on the Policing Project. I think we are going to get there as long as the chief follows through on commitments he’s made to me to improve the quality of policing in the town and to eliminate some of the issues we currently have with it. I’ll stick with the chief.”
As for figuring out those changes, Briley maintains that the Policing project is the key.