Tension mounts between Metro Community Review Board, Metro Legal, citizens during meeting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tense moments unfolded during a Community Review Board (CRB) meeting Monday evening after an argument broke out and a representative of Metro’s Legal Department got up to leave the room.

During the meeting, a citizen told CRB members and Metro Legal that they were “very concerned” about the decision to not file a lawsuit against the state after legislators passed a law last session that stripped community oversight boards of their powers, and required them to reform as community review boards.

Metro Legal Associate Director Lora Fox told the citizen the department exhausted all resources when trying to determine whether they had the legal grounds to sue the state. Ultimately, multiple parties agreed there was no legal ground for a lawsuit because the law did not violate home rule by targeting just Nashville.

“We looked at that issue, and we had outside counsel, who’s very well-known in this community, and we came to the same conclusion,” Fox said. “So, I just, I’m kind of tired of hearing that thing brought up as if we have done something not in support of the CRB.”

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CRB member Walter Holloway didn’t accept Fox’s explanation and implied she may have been lying.

“They may have gone over it and looked at it and done research on it, but I’m a diehard. I don’t believe it,” Holloway said.

Fox then got up to leave the meeting before the CEO and founder of Mothers Over Murder, Clemmie Greenlee, stood up to speak from the crowd to ask Fox not to leave.

“I heard one man say, ‘I’m so tired of people saying stuff to us and we can’t say nothing back because we’ll lose our jobs or be demoted.’ And I’m like, ‘Well I don’t work for none of them. I don’t work for nobody but God,’ and so I stood up,” Greenlee said. “I said [to Fox] in a nice way, respectfully, ‘Don’t do that. Number one, you’re on the taxpayers’ money. Number two, you’re no [more tired] than we are.'”

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Greenlee called Fox’s comments and her trying to leave “hurtful and disrespectful,” especially to the mother of Jocques Clemmons, whose 2017 officer-involved shooting death sparked efforts to form a community oversight board in Nashville. Clemmons’ mother was at the CRB meeting.

“I’m happy to stay for you, ma’am,” Fox responded to Greenlee’s comments during the meeting. “I’m just frustrated with the board that we’re trying to give good advice to, and that we receive limited respect and ideas that there are magic solutions out there for what’s going on. The idea that Metro Legal somehow should’ve challenged this is very frustrating when we can’t find grounds for it, and we can’t find outside counsel, but I’m happy to stay for you ma’am.”

Greenlee said she didn’t stand up during the meeting to call anyone out, but to help bring the group back together and remind them of their goal.

“I wanted to assure everybody, even the community, even the police department, we’re not going nowhere, we’re going to have to work together, and I don’t want to play the blame game,” Greenlee said. “But I know for a fact that this Community Review Board will happen; it’s going to happen, and I’m a big part of it to make sure it happens.”

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The CRB met under its new name for the first time last October. The CRB has not finalized its bylaws and rules on how it operates.

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