Crime and Law Enforcement

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Gov. Bill Lee has launched what he’s calling the first steps toward police reform in Tennessee.

Gov. Lee announced the changes Thursday backed by the state’s top law enforcement officers.

The governor is asking police departments statewide to review their use of force policies, and officer duty to intervene policies, within 60 days. He’s also expanding police officer training to include more hours and mandatory instruction in de-escalation techniques.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk says his office will no longer prosecute individuals for possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana.


A statement released on Wednesday said the new policy will benefit people who would otherwise have to deal with criminal charges, possible jail time and corresponding negative consequences for their employment and housing.


The change is also expected to decrease court and jail costs.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Eight Murfreesboro residents narrowly escaped injury this past weekend after a dozen shots were fired into their home.

Police say they were called to a home in the 500 block of Highland Ave. just after midnight on Saturday. They found a multiple bullet holes in the home and in a car in the drive.

The eight people inside the home, including a 15-month-old toddler, were not injured.

A nearby MPD Officer heard the shots and minutes later took a suspect into custody.

Franklin reports its first homicide since 2012

Jun 29, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Franklin Police are investigating the city’s first homicide in eight years.

Authorities say residents on Edgewood Blvd. reported gunfire at around 2 a.m.

When officers arrived they found an as yet unnamed man shot several times. He died at the scene. No suspect has been named.

Franklin last investigated a murder in 2012. The city’s mid-state neighboring communities have not been so fortunate.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The Nashville police Community Oversight Board did not wait for Mayor John Cooper’s new task force to recommend how to update Metro police use of force policies.

Mayor Cooper formed his task force two weeks ago as protests swelled in Nashville over the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis Police. Cooper gave the panel 90 days to recommend changes.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  June has turned out to be a dangerous, deadly month in Murfreesboro.

The city suffered seven shootings between June 1 and June 24. One person was fatally wounded last week.

In June of 2019, Murfreesboro reported just one shooting incident.

There has been a total of 15 shootings so far in 2020. Compare that to twelve shootings during the same period last year.

WMOT asked the department what it believes might be causing the rash of shootings, but MPD declined to answer.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  One of Nashville’s most prolific developers was seriously injured during the May 30 riots downtown.

Tony Giarratana is responsible for many of the high rise buildings dotting the Nashville skyline, beginning with The Cumberland in 1996. Giarratana also had a hand in building the 505 Building, the Sobro, Viridian, and Encore.

Metro Police on Wednesday arrested a man they say struck Giarratana in the back of the head with a skateboard during the riot.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Metro Nashville Chief of Police Steve Anderson resigned Thursday morning, but will remain at his post through at least October.

Anderson’s retirement at the end of a 45 year career at MNPD comes amidst growing calls for his ouster.

Earlier this month, a large group of  Metro Council members signed on to a resolution calling for the chief’s resignation. The Tennessee Chapter of the ACLU had also called on Anderson to step down.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Reactions are mixed in Tennessee to this week’s Supreme Court decision protecting LGBT workers from employment discrimination.

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander broke ranks with many fellow Republicans to say every American is, “entitled to dignity and respect." The Senator went on to say the Supreme Court has spoken on the issue and it's now the law of the land.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Metro Nashville Police have updated department policy to make it explicit that chokeholds are prohibited.

Metro Police policy has also been clarified to make it clear officers have a duty to intervene if a fellow officer uses excessive force.

Mayor John Cooper announced the policy updates Monday. The Mayor has also asked Nashville’s Community Oversight Board to review MNPD’s current use of force policies.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee says the Nashville Holocaust Memorial at the Gordon Jewish Community Center was vandalized over the weekend.

The Federation says in a Facebook post that someone placed anti-Semitic and white supremacy messages on the memorial Saturday night.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Nashville put some teeth in its pandemic Emergency Health Orders over the weekend.

Fourteen Metro businesses were issued citations by city health inspectors for coronavirus crisis orders non-compliance. A court will decide any fines.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — More than a dozen city officials have signed a resolution seeking to oust a Tennessee police chief.

News outlets report at least 15 Nashville Metro Council members have signed the document that calls for Mayor John Cooper to call for the resignation of Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson and pursue “meaningful policy and behavioral change” in the agency.

Anderson has been criticized in recent years, with activists and some city leaders saying he has resisted change and transparency.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Metro Nashville Police will begin adoption of body worn cameras in July, in spite of the city’s extreme budget problems.

Mayor John Cooper announced Monday roll out will begin with 86 officers in West Precinct. Officials say the cameras will be in use by the department’s entire 1300 member force within six months. Cameras are also being added to more than 700 Metro patrol cars.

The initiative was all but abandoned late last year when estimates suggested the cameras would cost Nashville $40 million a year and require 200 new employees.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  State attorney’s will on Tuesday continue their efforts to put Abu-Ali Abdur’ Rahman back on Tennessee’s Death Row.

Rahman was convicted in 1987 of a stabbing attack that left one person dead and another wounded. He was scheduled for execution in April, but the Tennessee Supreme Court granted a stay in the case last December.

Last year Nashville District Attorney Glen Funk convinced a Davidson County court to resentence Rahman to life in prison, noting strong evidence of racial bias during jury selection in his original trial.

Keith Caldwell (Facebook)

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The head of the Nashville NAACP chapter says the police officer who responded to his home after a bullseye target appeared in his front yard dismissed his concerns.


Nashville NAACP President Keith Caldwell said in a Facebook post that he found the “bullseye” target on an easel-like holder in his front yard on Saturday night.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's attorney general is opposing motions to delay executions scheduled in August and October due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In two state Supreme Court filings this week, Attorney General Herbert Slatery wrote that attorneys for Byron Black and Harold Nichols are speculating about about future public health conditions in their delay requests.

Slatery wrote that the court can take whatever actions necessary if public health circumstances worsen.

Nichols' execution is scheduled for Aug. 4 and Black's is slated for Oct. 8.

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TNS/WMOT) -- Tennessee juvenile courts say arrests of young people have dropped about 40 percent since the coronavirus pandemic began.


Davidson County Juvenile Court Administrator Kathryn Sinback says there are fewer chances for teens to find trouble while at home with their parents. She says the unique circumstances show just how important “family togetherness and family bonding” are to controlling delinquency.



MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office is asking for your help chasing down a lead in last week’s shooting of a motorist.


The 42-year-old woman was seriously wounded while driving on Veterans Parkway. She remains hospitalized one week after the April 23 incident.


The Sheriff’s Office has released video of a pickup truck. Detectives say the occupants may have information about the shooting.



OOLTEWAH, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities say two managers of a Tennessee mobile home park accused of withholding tornado relief donations have been charged with theft and conspiracy.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press cited a statement from police in reporting the arrests of 64-year-old Steven West and 49-year-old Kimberly West.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office said the two were arrested Thursday evening at their residence at the Auburn Hills mobile home park in Ooltewah.

Court documents say detectives saw 54 totes marked Red Cross in the residence.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall said Wednesday that Metro's new jail is being used as a coronavirus isolation ward, even though the facility wasn't scheduled to open until next month.


Hall told reporters during the city's daily COVID-19 press briefing, that 119 of the jail’s 1003 prisoners are in isolation. Eleven have tested virus positive. The rest have either been exposed or are awaiting test results.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- The body camera rollout for Metro Police is one of the first budgetary casualties of the coronavirus pandemic.


Responding to reporter questions during Wednesday’s COVID-19 press briefing, Mayor John Cooper revealed MNPD will not move ahead with the next phase of the police body-cam program.


Cooper blamed a loss of revenue as the city’s economy slows. The mayor recently predicted a $200 million to $300 million shortfall in tax collections.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Nashville’s Police Oversight Board has issued its first policy recommendation, 18 months after being approved by voters.


The board is suggestinging four new guidelines for Metro Officers regarding immigration enforcement.


The oversight panel suggests police be trained to recognize official U.S. and foriegn issued identification. It also wants officers to justify asking about citizenship status.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s Supreme Court is postponing the scheduled execution of a death row prisoner for eight months because of the coronavirus.

Oscar Smith had been sentenced to die on June 4 for the murders of his estranged wife and her two sons from a previous marriage.

On Friday, the court granted a motion requested by Smith’s attorneys to delay his execution. Smith’s new execution date is Feb. 4, 2021.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- The Tennessee Sheriff’s Association has pushed back against the State Supreme Court’s efforts to fight COVID-19 by releasing non-violent county jail inmates.


The state high court recently ordered judges statewide to submit written plans to reduce jail populations.