Metro council to round out Community Oversight Board members

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Metro Council will choose the remaining nine members of the Community Oversight Board Tuesday night. The board will be comprised of eleven members total and will investigate complaints made against Metro police officers. 

Vice Mayor Jim Schulman released guidelines on how the council will vote on members. 

Voters approved the board in November, after two high profile officer-involved shootings. The board must be fully operational by Jan. 31. 

Council members interviewed more than 150 nominees over three days last week. The interviews began on Wednesday afternoon. 

Each nominee had to fill out a questionnaire and then, in a 10-minute interview with various Metro Council members, explain why they should be appointed to the Community Oversight Board. 

The nominees came from all walks of life and from different backgrounds. Some were nominated by petition of 50 signatures, others were nominated by community organizations or council members themselves.  

“As a survivor of police misconduct, I hope to bring social justice activism, business experience and church leadership to the board,” Arnold Hayes said in his interview. He was instrumental in creating the board and was nominated by the NAACP. 

Waffle House hero James Shaw Jr was allowed to interview after he showed up late, which stirred up some controversy.  

Shaw was nominated by The Equity Alliance. He said in his interview that he wants officers to walk around and get to know the communities they’re policing. He also said that some residents are anti-police because of their upbringing. 

“Some African-American men have had problems with the police force and police authority but that’s because of how their upbringing was and the environment that they’re in,” Shaw said. “There has to be trust on both sides.” 

Shaw mentioned several times how valuable he would be to the board. 

“I know my voice is very powerful in the city of Nashville and being from the city of Nashville and this board is very important,” he said. 

Former Metro Police Chief Emmett Turner also interviewed after he was nominated by the Fraternal Order of Police.  

“I have a feel for various neighborhoods. Although I’ve been away from the department for a long time, I still think I have a pulse on what’s going on in the city,” Turner said in his interview. “Nashville used to be a city where people could work, play, and live in a safe environment and I want to see that happen again.” 

Sheila Clemmons Lee was nominated by the Justice 4 Jocques Coalition. Her son was shot and killed by Metro Police Officer Joshua Lippert nearly two years ago. 

“I am not against the police at all. I just think that they just need accountability and transparency,” Lee said in her interview.  

She also said that people listen to her and she could use her voice for good.  

“I know there were people who wanted to destroy this city behind Jocques’s death, but I asked them not to,” she said. 

Heidi Hall, who was nominated by Councilwoman Nancy Van Reece, is also a former Tennessean reporter and current Vanderbilt employee. 

“I think it would be wonderful to have a board like this to kind of oversee these folks who are so incredibly brave and have done remarkable things but also can make mistakes that have devastating consequences,” she said. 

The special called meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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