Friday, May 31, 2024

Former Metro Police Officer Alleges Major Police Malfeasances from the Top. Mayor's Response. My Comment.

by ELI MOTYCKA, The Nashville Scene, May 31, 2024- Metro Nashville police regularly interfered with internal investigations, selectively followed policy and ran a department on double standards, alleges a 61-page complaint filed with MNPD’s Office of Professional Accountability last week by a retired police lieutenant. Metro released a redacted version of the complaint on Thursday evening.

Complainant Garet Davidson, who ended his career within MNPD’s OPA, describes systemic malfeasance from top MNPD officials, including Chief John Drake and Deputy Chiefs Mike Hagar and Chris Gilder. Davidson’s allegations read like a retrospective from more than a decade within the department. Specific incidents span mistreatment and physical harm toward female employees, rank bias in internal investigations, and Gilder receiving an award for helping pass legislation that gutted the Metro Nashville Community Oversight Board (COB).

Davidson further alleges that the police department has repeatedly lied about reform, specifically in (read more)


Statement From Mayor Freddie O’Connell on Davidson Complaint

May 31, 2024 -Today, Mayor Freddie O’Connell issued the following statement:

I believe it’s important—and I believe the public expects—that we establish impartiality when it comes to serious allegations about conduct within Metro, and it is important to conduct an independent investigation into the recent allegations made by former MNPD Lt. Garet Davidson and filed with MNPD’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA).

The Department of Law has recommended Edward L. Stanton III of the Butler Snow law firm to oversee an investigation into the complaint, and I support this appointment.

Recognizing that these are allegations, which are unproven at this time, I, Chief of Police John Drake, Civilian Review Board director Jill Fitcheard, and the Department of Law Director Wally Dietz all have a strong interest in ensuring the integrity of the investigation. I have insisted that our process be above reproach. Mr. Stanton will have access to resources from Metro Legal, MNPD, Human Resources, the CRB, and anything else needed to conduct a thorough investigation.

Ed Stanton has impeccable credentials, including decades of experience conducting internal investigations and complex governance matters. After being nominated by President Barack Obama, Stanton served as the United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee from 2010-2017. As a resident of Memphis, he understands Tennessee law and brings an independent view to this matter.

Rod's Comment: Nashvillians need to follow this story. This could be huge. The Tennessean reported on the story but focused on members of the police department working with members of the State legislature to develop a bill that reduced the authority of Metro's citizen review board. You can read the Tennessean's take on the story at this link

By making its focus so narrow, I think the Tennessean may be missing the story. Also, the Tennessean's coverage got nothing but a yawn out of me. I see nothing wrong with members of the police department taking their concerns to members of the legislature.

While I am generally respect and support the police, the police need watch dogs. People with a lot of power tend to abuse it. There must be balances and safeguards on any government entity with massive power. While codes or licensing boards may be arrogant and abuse their position, they are not armed, and they can't throw you in jail. Whether or not police oversight can be done with available mechanisms short of a formal oversight body, or whether Metro's version of a civilian review board went too far, I don't know. In any event, this story appears much bigger than a story about members of police department helping to craft legislation stripping authority from the Community Oversight Board.

I am pleased to see the mayor take the action he is taking. I hope the local conservative media and social media conservatives do not rally around the police but instead wait to see what the facts are.  

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