Nashville NAACP demands fair investigation of death of Markquett Martin; calls for implementation of police reform

Markquett Martin

Markquett Martin was killed during a police pursuit. According to an official statement by the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD), Martin died from a self-inflicted wound during the chase. Recent video footage from MDHA shows officers chasing Martin and him falling to his death.

“The Nashville NAACP is assessing this incident to clarify the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Martin, a father, friend and son,” said local NAACP President Sheryl Guinn. “This tragedy highlights the problems with policing which include the lack of transparency, distrust and slow-paced reform of police practices.”

Since 2018 body cameras for Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) officers have been approved and funded by the Metro government.  However, these devices are not being used throughout the police force.

“MNPD must mandate the use of body cameras throughout the police force. MNPD must implement cultural humility training and provide alternative options to address mental health-related police calls,” said Guinn.

According to Guinn, to encourage a lasting solution to problems with policing, MNPD must build stronger relationships with the community by having honest and hard conversations to address race, class and gender biases.

“Additionally, MNPD should revise its agreement with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations to allow for investigations in which officers draw or discharge their weapons, therefore both actions would be classified as ‘use-of-force’ incidents. The Community Oversight Board should also be allowed to investigate officer-involved shootings and incidences in which officers draw their weapons,” said Guinn.

“Without concrete steps that address systemic racism in policing, MNPD will continue to have disturbing interactions with and shooting of unarmed black people. Heavily-policed communities will also maintain their distrust of MNPD.”

Guinn said that she also feels that police accountability initiatives should be led by people most impacted by over policing.

“We must work from the ground up rather than from the top down. If Nashville’s public officials are serious about ending police violence and improving police-community relations, we must engage serious change by hearing the voices of those who have suffered from the loss of loved ones and the fear that arises in communities affected by over policing.”

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