Department Of Justice Recommendations For Metro

Posted at 7:11 PM, Jul 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-20 21:02:15-04

The Department of Justice had some recommendations for Nashville, following the shooting death of a black man by a Metro police officer, and a report alleging racial bias within the Metro Police Department.

"It became very clear that there was a perception of bias and discrimination," said Mel Fowler-Green, Metro Human Relations Commission.

Inherent  bias, is a term Gideon's Army used to describe the Metro police Department. Last year, the group released its "Driving while Black" report. A report that appeared to show many metro traffic stops were motivated by racial profiling.

Group Alleges Racial Profiling In Traffic Stops

"If all we're going to talk about is if there really is bias we are also losing sight of the perception of bias has such a profound effect on the communities trust with the police that it's almost besides the point," said Fowler-Green.

Metro police insisted the racial disparities in the "Driving While Black" report are not the result of racial bias, but rather increased police presence in high crime areas where a high percentage of African Americans live.

MNPD Chief Reacts To Report Alleging Racial Profiling

That's part of the reason the Metro Human Relations Commission asked the Department of Justice for help.

"Citizen participation in policing is a strategy for resolving some the mistrust or bias for discrimination," said Fowler-Green.

The Department of Justice gave Metro recommendations to resolve some of the mistrust of metro police within the black community. One of the recommendations was a Citizen's Police Advisory Board.

"The Commission actually made an earlier recommendation back in November for the creation of a task force," said Fowler-Green.

The Commission hoped some action will be taken soon.

"I think we are now at the critical stage. What are we going to do," said Fowler-Green.

Mayor Megan Barry also wanted to bring in a New York-based policing project to do some training here to Nashville. Police Chief Steve Anderson says he met with representatives from that group and thinks their program would be good for the city.