ACLU of Tennessee urges resignation of Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee is calling for the resignation of Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson.

The ACLU released the following statement Wednesday morning:

“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.”

Fourteen Metro Council members announced Tuesday a plan to file a resolution calling for the chief’s resignation.

The Metro Nashville Police Department issued a statement in response to the council’s plans:

“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.”

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