After some tense moments at the Metro Clerk's office, thousands of signatures were officially turned in on Wednesday to call for a referendum to vote on a community oversight committee for Nashville.
At first, the group Community Oversight Now, which is pushing for the community oversight committee, wasn’t sure if it would get their petition filed because the Metro Clerk didn’t show up for a meeting the group said it had with her.
The group handed over a petition with 8,000 signatures. Organizers said they wanted the Metro Clerk to sign for documents so there would be no question about it later.
“We just want the clerk’s signature because we don’t trust the process, to be frank with you. We want 100 percent validation that the petitions have been submitted,” said Sekou Franklin, an organizer with Community Oversight Now.
The push for oversight comes a week after Daniel Hambrick was shot and killed by a Metro Police officer and just over a year after an officer shot and killed Jocques Clemmons.
“Anybody who cares about how the police come and conduct themselves in their streets and with their neighbors should want to have direct oversight over the police,” said Theeda Murphy, an organizer with Community Oversight Now.
Metro Legal said the deputy clerk’s signature would do in place of the Metro clerk’s signature to file the petition.
A barber shop owner in a heavily policed area said he thinks an oversight board could help build trust with police in that community.
“I think it would help because people would at least feel like they have a part in some of the decisions that impact their lives. Right now, they are just on the outside looking in making a complaint,” said Robert Donaldson II, owner of Urban Class barber shop on Jefferson Street.
The Davidson County Election Commission has to verify the signatures on the petition before it could go on the November ballot. If it passes, the oversight committee would have 11 members, most of them from areas with a heavy police presence, and four members would be appointed by the Nashville Mayor and Metro Council.
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