Men who have supported our country for years are in turn asking for the mayor’s office to give them a hand.
A collection of military veterans is calling for Mayor Briley to support Amendment 1 in the November election. The veterans, representing two groups, Veterans for Peace and Veterans for a Community Oversight Board, delivered letters to Mayor David Briley’s office asking him to formally endorse the amendment that would establish The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County Community Oversight Board.
The groups want to bring equality and equity for citizens of Nashville who feel that their interactions with law enforcement are marginalized and trivialized. They believe that a Community Oversight board will help MNPD officers better understand the communities they are assigned to serve.
“We think it is time for our politicians to take a stand for the people of the community,” said an event organizer.
Veterans for Peace issued a letter reading in part:
“Police accountability is critical to protecting our veterans who proudly served their country. Many veterans have been homeless and experienced trauma, which make them more likely to encounter law enforcement personnel. The COB gives at-risk veterans a vehicle for shaping policing practices and another layer of constitutional protections when encountering MNPD. The COB will also conduct policy reviews of Metro Nashville agencies involved in criminal justice, thus assisting military veterans who are most at-risk of incarceration.”
Kenneth Caine who represents the second group, Veterans for a Community Oversight Board that is almost entirely made up of African American veterans, said, “Black vets put their lives on the line fighting for our country and now they are making sure we have equal rights. A lot of them have been harassed by the police and they just want to be more empowered to make a difference in our community. They are for a community oversight board. This is for equality and respect for all Nashvillians so it’s a win-win for the city.”
Veterans for a Community Oversight Board also delivered a letter to the mayor’s office stating:
“As veterans, many of us have first-hand experiences with racial profiling, wrongful arrests, and police stops in Nashville. We have daily concerns that our children and grandchildren may experience the same fates as others who have been recently killed by law enforcement. We believe the COB embodies the most sacred parts of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th amendment. We are troubled by Mayor Briley’s unwillingness to understand that the COB and Amendment 1 campaign are fundamental to the equal protection of all Nashville residents.
If we, as black veterans, can support freedom and democracy abroad, then we deserve first-class treatment at home. We call on Mayor Briley, Vice-Mayor Jim Shulman, and all of Nashville leaders to officially endorse Amendment 1.
”The Mayor’s Senior Advisor greeted representatives delivering the letters for Workforce Diversity and Inclusion, Ashford Hughes.
“We’re listening and we’ll find a way to work together,” said Hughes, “especially when you are dealing with people and they feel they may or may not be treated fairly by the police department is a serious issue, and I definitely want to get this to the mayor as soon as possible. We appreciate it.”
After meeting with Hughes, the group was hopeful and optimistic.
Isaac Vaughn, a Korean war veteran, helped to deliver the letters.
“I was on the front line. I had to fight,” said Vaughn. “I came today to support community oversight because we all should work together and live together. We all got to look out for one another.”
Vaughn said he is once again fighting for his country, but this time,
“I’m trying to make peace.”