ACLU-TN urges resignation of Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) is urging the resignation of Metro Nashville Police Department Chief Steven Anderson.

This comes after 14 Metro Council members signed a resolution calling for Anderson's resignation in the wake of protests stemming from the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

In a statement ACLU-TN wrote about the deaths of Jocques Clemmons and Daniel Hambrick, two African American men who were killed by Metro Police officers. Their deaths sparked the establishment of a Community Oversight Board.

"Unfortunately, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD), under the leadership of Chief Steve Anderson, refuses to collaborate with the COB. MNPD’s non-cooperative relationship with the COB is consistent with their prior dismissal of the Gideon’s Army report “Driving While Black: A Report on Racial Profiling in Metro Nashville Police Department Traffic Stops,” and their resistance to using police body cameras." - ACLU-TN

ACLU-TN said Anderson's approach to policing "raises serious concerns about his willingness to examine structural racism."

"ACLU-TN is committed to reimagining police culture, to justice, and to ensuring equal protection and treatment for all Metro Nashville residents, especially those communities that have been historically over-policed. For these reasons, ACLU-TN is compelled to request the resignation of Police Chief Steve Anderson. To be clear, the resignation of Chief Anderson alone will not end racist policing and the oppressive treatment of communities of color on which policing in America was founded. But it’s a first step.” - ACLU-TN

Metro Council's resolution sponsors include Council Members Toombs, Parker, Benedict, VanReece, Bradford, Welsch, Sledge, Cash, O'Connell, Murphy, Porterfield, Sepulveda, Rosenberg and Mendes.

The Metro Nashville Police Department has issued the following statement to FOX 17 News in response to the resolution:

"Chief Anderson, along with the deputy chiefs, precinct commanders, supervisors and officers throughout the city remain committed to carrying out a public safety mission that protects Nashville’s families in all neighborhoods while, at the same time, building positive relationships in particularly underserved communities. Successes are happening, and the department wants to build on and build out those successes. Chief Anderson welcomes one on one dialogue with council members."

Here is the full statement from ACLU-TN:

"Over the last ten days, tens of thousands of Nashvillians have stood together in peaceful protests to express their outrage over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. These powerful protests highlight the outrage over the enduring and deep-rooted problem of racist policing and structural racism in the United States. The protests also reflect Nashvillians’ long-held grievances against policing in Nashville and the low level of trust and confidence in the Metro Nashville Police Department, especially within Black and Brown communities.
It is these long-held grievances and the murders of Jocques Clemmons and Daniel Hambrick that led a large majority of Nashvillians just two years ago to establish the community oversight board (COB). Unfortunately, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD), under the leadership of Chief Steve Anderson, refuses to collaborate with the COB. MNPD’s non-cooperative relationship with the COB is consistent with their prior dismissal of the Gideon’s Army report “Driving While Black: A Report on Racial Profiling in Metro Nashville Police Department Traffic Stops,” and their resistance to using police body cameras.
It is time to reimagine the culture of policing in Nashville. Metro Nashvillians need a police chief who adheres to a policing philosophy that is built on positive community-police relations for all Nashvillians and an end to over-policing by reducing and refining the role and responsibilities of police. We need a police chief who will support divestment of the police budget and reinvestment of those funds into the community.
Chief Anderson’s approach to policing raises serious concerns about his willingness to examine structural racism and participate in the conversation that is required to reimagine policing and public safety in Nashville. ACLU-TN is committed to reimagining police culture, to justice, and to ensuring equal protection and treatment for all Metro Nashville residents, especially those communities that have been historically over-policed. For these reasons, ACLU-TN is compelled to request the resignation of Police Chief Steve Anderson. To be clear, the resignation of Chief Anderson alone will not end racist policing and the oppressive treatment of communities of color on which policing in America was founded. But it’s a first step.”

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