A community group officially filed an ethics complaint with the city clerk against Mayor Megan Barry regarding her extramarital relationship with former Metro Nashville Police Dept. (MNPD) employee Sgt. Rob Forrest on Wednesday.
The group, Community Oversight Now, argues that Barry was unduly influenced by her illicit relationship with Forrest to protect the interests of Metro Police even when they were at odds with those in the community.
"It is unknown at this time whether Chief Anderson or anyone else in MNPD knew of the relationship between the Mayor and the Sergeant, however, it is not unreasonable to assume that knowledge of such a relationship could have been used as leverage against the Mayor," the complaint says.
"Regardless of whether anyone was aware or actively advocating to influence her decisions regarding any issue of public safety policy which was at odds with the official MNPD position, the simple fact is she knew there was at least one officer who could air her dirty laundry at a moment's notice and that fact alone brings into question her ability to be an honest broker in any discussion or consideration of these issues."
One of the issues focused on in the complaint was Barry's response, or lack thereof, to the Feb. 2017 shooting of an unarmed black man, Jacques Clemmons by MNPD Officer Joshua Lippett, who is still an employee of the department.
They also cite 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.
"In instance after instance, she has shown a consistent pattern of protecting the interest of MNPD whenever MNPD’s interests were at odds with members of the public or other government institutions and their representatives," the grievance says. "She has also shown a pattern of inconsistency in her statements and positions regarding community oversight which seemed erratic and capricious."
The complaint continues that Mayor Barry's relationship to MNPD has created distrust among many in the community, especially people of color.
"The long-term effect of the Mayor’s actions and statements regarding policing have had a lasting impact on the relationship between Metro government and its residents, eroding trust and creating a wall of suspicion which may be impossible for her to breach," the complaint reads. "Citizens of color, in particular, have felt unseen and unheard throughout this process and, in their eyes, the Mayor has absolutely no credibility."
According to the group, Barry has violated the provisions of Section 2, subparagraph II, section 1 of Executive Order 005, which states that Metro employees "shall not give reasonable basis by their conduct for the impression that any person can improperly influence, or unduly enjoy their favor in, the performance of their official duties, or that they are unduly affected by the kinship, rank, position or influence of any person.”
The complaint now goes to the Metro Legal Dept. to determine if any city ordinances, including the one mentioned above, were violated.
To read the full complaint, click here.
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