Chicago Attorney William Weeden. Photo by Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

NASHVILLE, TN — Nashville’s police oversight board has named its top candidate to become the group’s executive director. Chicago attorney William Weeden got the nod Tuesday night after the board interviewed five finalists.

Metro will now extend a formal job offer.

In his interview last week, Weeden praised Nashvillians for putting together a grassroots effort to pass a ballot measure to create the police oversight board.

“You have the tools in place now to have a great agency,” he said. “Nashville has been behind the curve a little bit, but it doesn’t mean that Nashville can’t take the lead on this.”

He called the city a “beacon” for civil rights, noting that he graduated from Fisk University in the 1980s and considers himself a follower of the city’s nonviolent student movement of the 1960s.

Weeden is currently a civil rights attorney and a former prosecutor and law professor. He also served eight years as a high-ranking leader of the Independent Police Review Authority in Chicago, which is similar to Nashville’s board.

Members called Weeden’s experience there both a positive and a potential negative, as the Chicago board was on the receiving end of a scathing report in 2016. That group was criticized for not holding police to account, even as the city settled with many people who claimed they were abused by police.

But members said Weeden’s application rose to the top because of his deep experience with civilian oversight groups and his thorough approach on investigations.