Community groups asks Council to continue ethics probe into form - WSMV News 4

Community groups asks Council to continue ethics probe into former mayor

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A local group of activists has asked Metro Council to continue their ethics investigation into Former Mayor Megan Barry despite her resignation on Tuesday. 

The group, Community Oversight Now, released a statement Tuesday urging the Council's Board of Ethical Conduct to keep pursuing their investigation into alleged conflict of interest by Megan Barry involving her affair with Sgt. Rob Forrest. "If the Council Board of Ethics rejects Murphy’s complaint in its entirety—and by consequence accepts the Klein/Bussell memorandum—it will send a message to some communities in Nashville that the system is rigged against them," Community Oversight Now said Tuesday."

The Council's investigation was prompted, in part, by a formal ethics complaint filed against the mayor on Feb. 7 by Theeda Murphy on behalf of Community Oversight Now.

In the complaint, the group argued Barry and Forrest's relationship swayed the former mayor to make decisions that were favorable to the Metro Police Dept. -- especially when it came to police accountability. 

PDF DOCUMENTS: Community Oversight Now's rebuttal to Council's ethics investigation | Community Oversight Now's original ethics complaint against Megan Barry | Megan Barry's official resignation letter | Criminal charges filed against Megan Barry 

"The Council Board of Ethical Conduct must rise to the occasion during this crisis," reads the statement released Tuesday. "A significant portion of the public is concerned that the indiscretion created a conflict of interest and biased the former mayor’s approach to police accountability policies. At this point, there is no other institutional body to evaluate extensive allegations of conflicts of interest."

The group was created after the death of an unarmed black man, Joques Clemmons at the hands of a still-employed Metro officer. 

The group's initial purpose was to push for a Community Oversight Board to help reform MNPD's tactics on community policing. 

In their initial complaint, the group focused on Barry's response -- or lack thereof -- to Clemmons' death, including her alleged unwillingness to support their group's desire to create a Civilian Oversight Board to reform MNPD's community policing policies after Clemmons was killed. 

Last week, News4 caught up with Clemmons' mom, Sheila Clemmons Lee, who spoke about a private conversation she recently had with the now ex-mayor as well as shared her thoughts on Barry's affair scandal. 

“I think deep down, they all know it was foul play,” Lee said. “We just can’t prove it, but deep down, they know.”

The council will decide tonight if they will retain a Memphis law firm to lead the investigation. 

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