A long-awaited study of Nashville police traffic stops arrives this afternoon, as the New York-based Policing Project will weigh in on what effect the stops have on public safety.
A special meeting has been called for 3 p.m. at the Metro Council chambers.
Advocates of police reform have been especially interested to learn whether the analysis will confirm that black drivers are stopped disproportionately. That was the finding two years ago in a local analysis, “Driving While Black,” that found Nashville police make a higher rate of traffic stops than the national average and that black drivers are frequently stopped and searched, despite those searches rarely find incriminating evidence.
So some reform advocates, like Theeda Murphy, have questioned why a new study was even needed. But, now that it’s here, she’s interested.
“You know, taxpayer money was spent on this. Did any additional information come out?” she said.
Metro has a contract with the Policing Project for $175,000.
Setting aside the substance of the study, its arrival has already generated controversy. Some activists had wanted it to come out sooner.
There’s also been mixed messages about whether the presentation would be open to the public
“There’s been no public announcements, no invitation to a public meeting that we’ve gotten,” said Murphy, a leader with the Community Oversight Now coalition. “So it seems that it’s kind of hush-hush.”
Last week, a spokesman in the mayor’s office initially indicated the meeting would be closed, but he later clarified it would be open to the public.
The presentation, which will include many members of the Metro Council, falls under the state’s open meetings requirements.