Update: 5 April 1839 Eastern: After a great deal of back-and-forth, we received a denial of our Nashville Open Records request. The reason? None of our staff is a TN resident. While TN law contains a provision allowing agencies to exclude out-of-state residents (a decision that has been sharply criticized in some Federal courts), there is a larger point. That point is that disclosure is essential when dealing with crimes against children. And the Nashville Police Department has discretion to release these documents. Thus, Anglican Watch believes the Nashville Police Department does the public, itself, and the victims of child sex crimes a grave disservice by refusing disclosure. That is particularly the case in light of the department’s questionable conduct towards Austin Davis and his family.
We are working with other publications to find a Tennessee resident who can request these records.
Update: 4 April 1541 Eastern: We have heard from CPT Brian Williams, head of the Central Records Division of the Nashville PD. He states that the department has not received our three previous emails. We have completed a records request in PDF and returned it to him and the main email address for records requests. We will continue to update this story.
In light of the recent horrific tragedy at Covenant School in Nashville TN, you’d think the Nashville police department would be eager to be transparent about the situation and events in the years leading up to the recent killings. We’re thinking specifically of the pedophile previously active at Covenant church, and the retaliation by the church — aided and abetted by the Nashville police — against whistleblower Austin Davis and others who sought to bring light to the darkness.
Yet the exact opposite is the case, with the Nashville police ignoring three written FOIA requests from Anglican Watch.
Being tenacious, we contacted the head of administrative services for the department, Michelle Richter. Not only does her bio report that she has been in charge of central records, but she’s also worked with children who have experienced adverse events. As we have previously reported, there is a strong correlation between adverse childhood events and active shooters, Thus, we are confident she understands the underlying issues and the importance of disclosure. We’re also confident she is in a position to give the records division an appropriate nudge. But instead, we’re getting law enforcement terms the “goofy loop.”
We have filed an internal affairs complaint and will seek a court order compelling production of the documents if needed.
And for the record, we are not big fans of conspiracy theories. Nor are we unmindful of the wave of requests the department is getting. But we have not even received an acknowledgement from the records department.
Nashville, it’s time for transparency. Stop playing games with this issue.