Nashville’s Community Oversight Board Responds to Police Officer Involved Shooting and Calls for Action

Community Oversight Board members meet in this file photo from early 2020.
Nashville, TN (TN Tribune)–On Saturday afternoon, Metro Nashville Community Oversight (MNCO) Executive Director Jill Fitcheard and Assistant Director Chris Clausi received an ECC notification at 4:22 p.m. regarding the SWAT team responding to a suicidal person. The notification stated that MNPD officers had been negotiating with him since 2:30 p.m. An updated notification from ECC came in at 7:50 p.m. which stated an officer involved shooting had occurred at the same location.

ED Fitcheard and AD Clausi were contacted by the MNPD-COB Liaison and briefed about the situation.  ED Fitcheard received a notification contact by the Captain of the Criminal Investigations Division as well. Once on the scene, ED Fitcheard, AD Clausi and MNCO Investigator April Williams were briefed several times about the shooting. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation arrived on the scene and proceeded to process the wooded area where the shooting occurred.

ED Fitcheard and AD Clausi did not have the opportunity to view the body worn camera footage before its release to the public as had been previously agreed upon.

 “I am disappointed that after being told by numerous MNPD officials that we would have an opportunity to view the body worn camera footage before its release to the general public, that did not happen,” stated Fitcheard.
MNCO has taken the necessary steps to ensure the safe transfer of confidential and critical information from MNPD to MNCO by the installation of a secured server over a shared network.

An address from ED Fitcheard:
I hope going forward, MNPD would uphold and stay the course on the agreements that are in place related to the sharing of information that keeps us abreast and informed of how MNPD officers are responding during critical incidents.

Our community has entrusted the COB to conduct administrative investigations into police officer shootings, and we can only do that when we have all the information made available to us. This community has demanded that transparency and accountability be at the forefront of all that we do. Many have expressed their concern about the increase of shootings involving MNPD, and the issues that concern our community are also our concern. Our responsibility is to keep the community informed of the issues as they occur, and we will continue to strive for that objective.

A call to action from COB Chair Martinez:
Our community’s inability to adequately respond to a person experiencing a mental health crisis has led to another tragic death. The COB calls on our city leaders to immediately expand funding and resources to implement crisis intervention initiatives to serve as alternative methods for responding to calls involving individuals experiencing mental health crises. The status quo has proven deadly once again—as a community we must do everything we can to prevent losing another life.