Clarksville Mayor Tries to Block Key Black Leaders From Having Input in Selection of a New Police Chief
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
In an email to Terry McMoore, a key leader in the Black community, Clarksville, TN Mayor Johnny Piper is attempting to delay meeting with him concerning the selection process that will be used to select and appoint a new Chief of Police. After Mr. McMoore questioned the open door policy of past mayors, he was given a meeting date in late March by Mayor Piper.
Mr. McMoore’s reply to the Mayor was that a late March date was unacceptable and to far out for Community Members and all African American Leaders to have any real impact in the decision making process. He went on to inform the Mayor that this process should not just include a hand full of hand picked African American & Community Leaders.
McMoore states, “I have yet to hear from the Mayor regarding an earlier meeting date and now my calls to his office are not being returned. I can’t help but think that the Mayor’s refusal to meet with me is because he is still bitter that I supported former Mayor Don Trotter who defeated him four years ago and that I openly supported his opponent Judge Charles Smith in the 2006 election.”
I would think that Mayor Piper would be more professional and seek what is best for the City of Clarksville. I question the sincerity of the Mayor in his selection process and I still await his decision regarding a meeting with him on the selection process to be used in hiring a new police chief and on the additional issues of concern attached below.”
Topics I plan to discuss with Mayor Piper
Re: Major concerns and input from the community on the selection of a new Clarksville Police Chief. Members of the community & Mr. McMoore have expressed concerns on the past two Chiefs of Police leadership and conduct during their tenures with the police department. Also how many of the issues that eventually rose up during their tenure involved racial profiling, hostile work environment, discrimination, intimidation, and racism etc.
This time line of past Police Chiefs, Lavoyed Hudgins and Mark Smith show a pattern that started and carried over from then Mayor Johnny Piper’s term and well into former Mayor Don Trotter’s term.
• 1999 Complaints of racism and discrimination start to surface out of the police department. Civil Rights leaders meet with Mayor and Chief of Police regarding complaints.
• 2000 Police Chief Lavoyed Hudgins initiated a “City Wide Drug Sweep” where 44 alleged African American drug dealers were arrested and one alleged White drug deal was arrested in this sting. Issues of racial profiling are brought up throughout the community and in Federal courts.
• A year later U.S. Federal judge drops charges based on evidence of racial profiling.
• 2001 Police Chief Lavoyed Hudgins resigns stating he will pursue other business adventures.
• Deputy Police Chief Mark Smith is appointed Clarksville’s new Police Chief. Lawsuits continued to come out of police department.
• 2002 One way street signs are put up in Lincoln Homes, a public housing project. Residents feel like they are being caged in like animals and rumors start to surface about fencing in the project coming next. Police Chief Smith stands by his decision to put up one way street signs.
• Lincoln homes residents began making complaints of harassment, intimidation and feeling like they were living in a war zone. One way signs were removed along with off limits status to the military. Soldiers are now able to visit family members who live in public housing.
• Hangman noose found near black officers’ desk. It stayed in place for weeks before it was removed. Noose is written off by police department heads as a noose for holding horses. Pace of lawsuits coming out of police department claiming intimidation and hostile working environment picks up.
• 2003 Police officer who filed a lawsuit is fired on charges of not doing his job. Officer appeals the firing and later is reinstated with back pay.
• Rumors continue to persist that all public housing residents will be required to have a sticker placed on their cars to signify that they are from a public housing area. Local civil rights activist compare this to the marking of Jews during the Holocaust. Rumor could not be confirmed or denied.
• 2004 White police officer files federal lawsuit claiming he has endured more than two years of threats, abuse and intimidation from co-workers because he reported another officer for using inappropriate language referring to another race.
• 2005 City loses another Federal lawsuit meanwhile a Clarksville Police department Lieutenant and Captain file lawsuits against two lawsuit officers and a civil rights activist claiming libel and slander charges.
• 2006 To date fourteen discrimination lawsuits have been filed against the city of Clarksville and Chief Mark Smith and members of the police department by current and former police officers. Mark Smith remains Clarksville Police Chief. Johnny Piper is elected Mayor of Clarksville, TN once again.
• 2007 Mark Smith resigns as Clarksville’s Chief of Police along with Deputy Chief Bob Davis.
CONTACT PERSON FOR THIS RELEASE:
Terry McMoore, Director Urban Resource Center
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