Republicans Introduce Bill to Undercut Nashville’s Community Oversight Board

In November, Davidson County residents overwhelmingly voted to create a community oversight board to look at alleged police misconduct. Speaker of the TN House Glen Casada immediately threatened to render the board virtually powerless, and now Chairman of the House Judiciary committee Rep. Michael Curcio and the Republicans have introduced a bill to do just that.

The Bill – HB 658 – would not allow the community oversight board to issue subpoenas for documents or compel witness testimonies. Without that power, the board will have little authority to “oversee” much of anything.

Michael Curcio and the Republicans are claiming these are “balanced guidelines” for the board, but Community Oversight Now, the group who successfully pushed for the board, disagrees – and is now reaching out to athletes and encouraging them not to come to Tennessee, launching a new campaign called “Don’t Play Where You’re Not Welcome.”

Community Oversight Now’s statement:

“We are calling on Tennessee lawmakers to vote NO on HB 658. We are calling on the Governor, Lt. Governor, Senator leadership, and people of good will to reject this discriminatory legislation. Additionally, we are exploring all legal options to prevent state preemption.”

Mayoral candidate John Ray Clemmons, currently a state rep, also spoke out unequivocally on twitter about the move, saying:

Clemmons also added:

Funny how the “small government” guys always seem to want government to step in and get a lot bigger when something happens they don’t like. Casada, Curcio, and the Republicans claim they want to protect both police and citizens with this bill, but what they should really be concerned about protecting is the truth and justice. If you take care of those, the rest will take care of itself.

This bill is not a step in that direction. If anything, it’s an impediment.

Holler at Speaker Casada and Rep. Curcio and let them know if you agree with Community Oversight Now that the people of Nashville have spoken, and these non-Nashville representatives need to stay out of the way.

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