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Community Oversight Board seeks public’s input in expanding MNPD’s definition of use of force

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Posted at 12:02 PM, Oct 13, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Community Oversight Board (COB) will hear from the public while they discuss expanding the Metro Nashville Police Department's definition for use of force.

It is all about soft empty-handed control. According to a report from COB, MNPD defines it as:

"The use of physical strength and skill in defensive tactics to control arrestees who are reluctant to be taken into custody and offer some degree of physical resistance. Such techniques are not impact oriented and include pain compliance pressure points, controlled takedowns, joint manipulation, or simply grabbing a subject. Touching or escort holds may be appropriate for use against levels of passive resistance.”

MNPD does not require officers to submit a report on all instances when they use physical force to take someone who is resisting into custody.

"Currently, when soft empty-hand control tactics are used to take a resistant subject into custody, a written report is only required if an injury occurs," COB's report said.

A report commissioned by the Community Oversight Board compared the department's use of force guidelines to the 50 largest police departments in the country. More than half of them require all incidents be reported.

The board recommends to the department:

  • "All uses of soft empty-hand control techniques used to overcome resistance should be immediately reported to an officer’s supervisor and require a written report that is tracked by MNPD. Tracking of all uses of soft empty-hand control techniques used to overcome resistance should begin by January 1, 2022."
  • "Officers using soft empty-hand control techniques to overcome resistance without an allegation of injury should be required to complete a Form 108-S, a form that would be created by MNPD to collect information about soft empty-hand control when the force does not rise to the current Form 108 reporting level."

The public hearing is at 5 p.m, in the Howard Office Building, Sonny West Room Email. You can send written feedback to Community@Nashville.gov.