Give citizens a voice against injustice: Letters to the editor, Dec. 28

The Tennessean

December 28, 2017

Give citizens a voice against injustice

We have a societal tendency to give people in power undue benefit of the doubt at the expense of justice when faced with allegations of systemic abuse. Additionally, it is common that the pure chance of a victim’s birth – their gender, race or economic conditions – will give enough cause to discredit their lived experience.

From sexual abuse (the Catholic Church; Hollywood; U.S. Gymnastics; Missoula, Mont.) to police brutality (throughout history and nationwide), the consequences have been deep and lasting. When the arc of the universe bends toward justice, the perspective of an independent agency has been necessary to right the consistent imbalance in power, privilege and protection.

Similar to the actions of the Diocese of the Catholic Church and the prosecutors office in Missoula protecting the status quo by any means necessary will not age well. Though there are very few cities that have been successful at maintaining the independence and empowerment of a citizens’ oversight board, many of which are implemented only after clear evidence of police brutality, there is a clear pattern of aggressive political and legal maneuvering by the Fraternal Order of Police in opposition to such measures.

Whatever the current landscape, be certain that the FOP tactics being used across the country, including the ones we’ve witnessed in Nashville over the last two months, will ultimately be viewed with the same disgust and chagrin as the institutional failings recounted in Jon Krakauer’s Book, “Missoula” and in the movie, “Spotlight.”

We owe Nashville the chance to continue its storied civil rights history by leading the way in exemplifying the true achievement of a long-held goal of the movement with the implementation of a functioning Community Oversight Board (BL 2017-951).

Melissa Cherry, Nashville 37207

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