Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk

By Rosetta Miller-Perry

NASHVILLE, TN — The Tennessee Tribune endorses Glenn Funk to continue as Nashville’s District Attorney because he has kept his promises and continues to make progress in establishing a fair justice system.

These promises include:

 1.     He would recruit black lawyers to serve as Assistant District Attorneys (DAs).

During my career hundreds of political candidates have come to visit me.  All of them promised that if elected, they would promote black employees once in office.  Some have said they would hire qualified Blacks.  Never in my career has one white politician said they would hire qualified whites.  So that is outright racist.  Glenn impressed me in our first interview by saying – he would hire qualified men and women and no race was mentioned.

In practice, Glenn Funk  has been intentional in recruiting a diverse District Attorney’s Office. Before Glenn Funk, of the 70 Assisted DAs, only 2 were black, the rest were white.  Glenn has hired 20 black prosecutors.  28% of his office attorneys are minorities. African Americans in Nashville – 27.58%.

I also asked him to include male Black assistant DAs because our young Black boys in our community need Black male role models in positions of success and power. Glenn Funk has hired 10 male black attorneys, and even more importantly, three of them have been promoted to leadership positions. Atty. Chris Buford is the team leader for felony prosecutions in Division 5.  Atty. Ronald Dowdy is the team leader for the Domestic Violence Division. Atty. David Jones leads community engagement and is the liaison to MNPD video review investigations.

2. Glenn Funk promised to stop putting people in jail for minor offenses.

Before Glenn Funk took office, over 3,100 people were incarcerated in the Nashville jail every single night. Now our jail-houses have less than 1,500 on a nightly basis. Statistics show that 1,700 fewer people will be in jail tonight then there were before he took office, and over half of that reduction affects black families.  Nearly 1,000 of my people are home tonight with their families instead of being in jail.  How has he done that?  He no longer prosecutes crimes of poverty, like driving on a revoked driving license.  Instead of incarceration, he and Sheriff Daron Hall help people get their licenses reinstated.  

He no longer prosecutes marijuana.  Those arrests, convictions, and incarcerations have historically unfairly punished people of color.

Glenn Funk worked to decriminalize mental health problems and reduce the frequency of prosecutors asking for jail time on misdemeanors.  His office is working to prevent the school-to-Prison Pipeline. 

In addition, Glenn Funk taught his prosecutors to only use the sanctions of probation for support not punishment. This led to a decrease of over 5,000 people on misdemeanor probation every year. That statistic means fewer probation violations and less incarceration.  Glenn Funk is serious about ending mass incarceration.   

3. Glenn Funk promised that he would listen to black concerns.

Glenn Funk did not just come briefly through our community during elections, he had already been here for over 25 years as a criminal defense attorney, as a volunteer of numerous non-profit organizations and as a youth sports coach.

Since taking office, he always answers my phone calls as well as meets with me, in person on Historic Jefferson Street, to discuss community issues, policies or individual cases.  At times, he has changed a policy or position based on my input.  The main thing is that he listens and hears me, even when I disagree with him.  

Further, it’s not just me.  I know that he regularly meets with our esteemed pastors and leaders, crime victims and ordinary people who want to see him.  And the diverse staff he assembled always has his ear. 

Glenn Funk is the one elected official who has fulfilled his campaign promises.  He listens to concerns expressed to him by Black people in his office and in our community.  His actions as our District Attorney have led to more black representation, fewer black people in jail and a safer, fairer city.

Finally, I must say this, under every DA before Funk, white boys and Black boys committed the same minor offenses.  The white boy was sent home to his parents or parent and where do you think our Black boys were sent?  You are so right – into the system where they now had a record.  And I am still angry about this.

Furthermore in Memphis and Knoxville,  the District Attorneys are  white females.  

I fully endorse the re-election of Glenn Funk for District Attorney General. We must keep moving forward.