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Reading the License Plates
Photo by Weiye Tan / Unsplash

Reading the License Plates

馃殭 Divining crime from license plates 路聽Metro Arts update 路聽Trains running early 路聽Catch and release 路 Much more!

Good afternoon, everyone. Hope you're having a nice day out there. Onward.

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A few weeks ago, the mayor鈥檚 office announced that the protracted, often contentious discussion over LPRs would continue: three more community conversations about the technology would take place before Metro began final negotiations with data vendors. The meetings, which took place last week, were sparsely attended. 

鈥淎fter a great deal of debate, and a few years off a lot of people鈥檚 lives, the council voted in February 2022鈥o allow the use of LPRs [for a pilot program],鈥 Metro鈥檚 Director of Data and Innovation Dave Rosenberg said as he described the initiative's drawn-out timeline during the first meeting at Coleman Park Regional Community Center. Though the pilot program was successful 鈥 MNPD attributed the arrests of 112 criminals over the course of seven months to the LPRs 鈥 concerns about potential privacy violations remained.

Over the years, immigration advocates, libertarians, and those worried about the technology鈥檚 impact on minority communities coalesced on one side, arguing against the growing surveillance state and its potential to be abused by agencies such as ICE. Meanwhile, law enforcement, Metro leadership, and those living in neighborhoods plagued by drag racing and crime found themselves on another, citing the technology as an efficient tool that would help keep neighborhoods safe. 

Last fall, in spite of pushback, the council managed to pass a resolution to permanently install LPRs. As Metro takes final steps toward implementing the technology in Nashville, a few advocates took advantage of the mayor鈥檚 community conversations to rehash the same caveats.  

One of the remaining concerns is the possibility of open data sharing with other third-party agencies. 鈥淭he ordinance was strictly written,鈥 said Lieutenant Ricky Huddleston during April 25th鈥檚 conversation. According to Huddleston, only ten MNPD officers are given access to the data, and all scanner input is deleted within ten days. 鈥淲e have a disciplinary matrix for a reason, and if it is misused we plan to use that,鈥 he assured attendees. He also supported the idea of creating a publicly accessible dashboard for transparency and was emphatic that, as a resident and an officer, he wants to protect the data from abuse.

Another was the possible targeting of immigrants in relation to their legal status. 鈥淲e鈥檝e seen, time and time again, legislators talk about immigrant communities as invaders,鈥 said Judith Clerjeune, Campaigns and Advocacy Director for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition during April 23rd鈥檚 meeting. 鈥淲hile we all can agree that our border situation has to be updated鈥攚e need immigration reform, we need policies that actually address what鈥檚 happening at the border鈥攁 lot of the policies we鈥檙e seeing from our state legislators do nothing to actually address that. They鈥檙e creating more chaos and making it more difficult for our communities.鈥

Similarly, the majority of council members who voted against LPRs last fall expressed concern about their effect on both the freedom of movement and marginalized communities. 鈥淭he issue is鈥ftentimes these cameras are placed in areas that are either considered densely populated, or high-traffic areas,鈥 said Organizing Director of the Southern Movement Committee Jamel Campbell-Gooch during his speech at the final meeting. 鈥淲hich, across the country, usually mirror areas that are black and brown based.鈥 Cautiously optimistic about Metro鈥檚 dedication to community input, Campbell-Gooch turned his focus toward community investment. He appealed to the audience, encouraging them to advocate for things such as access to fresh food, accountability in the classroom, attracting good jobs to Nashville, and investing in reliable transit. 

Though the mayor鈥檚 community conversations are over, the final legislation will likely revive the discourse for one last go-round in the council chambers. Negotiations with up to three separate data vendors are to take place before the agreements are brought before the council for a vote. MEGAN PODSIEDLIK


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Nashville

馃帹 Metro Arts Update Last Thursday, the Metro Arts Commission voted to appoint Paulette Coleman to the role of interim executive director as current executive director Daniel Singh remains on FMLA leave. Singh has not been reporting to work since February 23rd, stating, 鈥淭he racist behavior of the Metro Government has affected my health.鈥 On April 18th, the commission voted to place Singh on paid administrative leave as they seek to fill the leadership vacuum. 

鈥淢y recommendation is we all know where this is going,鈥 Commissioner John Nefflen said at last Thursday鈥檚 meeting. 鈥淎nd I think we need to just go ahead and make the decision that we鈥檙e going to terminate him.鈥 The hitch in the process is tied to Singh鈥檚 FMLA leave status, which does not permit him to respond to complaints at the root of his ouster. Multiple commissioners made clear that they did not feel comfortable moving forward with a vote to remove Singh without hearing from him first.

鈥淒irector Daniel Singh is being prohibited from doing his job and returning to work intermittently until his full release,鈥 Singh鈥檚 attorney Jamie Hollin wrote in a letter released on April 18th. 鈥淭he only thing that needs to happen now is simple. Allow him to do so by clearing up the FMLA matter and command all the various lawyers hired by the Dept. of Law (not lawyers hired by the Commission) to stop the nonsense.鈥 Until Singh gets over the 鈥渞acism鈥, you鈥檙e paying him to remain on paid administrative leave. DAVIS HUNT

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馃殜 鈥淗e made the trains leave early鈥 On Saturday morning, the WeGo Star train (which runs from Lebanon to downtown) offered a special for participants in the Rock 鈥榥鈥 Roll Nashville Marathon, selling round-trip tickets for $15 a piece. But some riders were left stranded in Donelson when the train left five minutes earlier than scheduled. Making the trains run on time means they don鈥檛 arrive late or leave early. Sometimes easy to forget that.

In more somber marathon news, 26-year-old Yolan chef Joey Fecci collapsed during the race and later died after being rushed to the hospital. We鈥檝e enjoyed many great meals at Yolan, and send our condolences to the Fecci family. 鈥淚t is with unbearable grief and immense sorrow that we share our dear and beloved Joey transitioned to the other side on Saturday April 27th. He was a bright light of inspiration and positivity to everyone that was blessed to cross paths with him,鈥 Fecci鈥檚 family said in a statement. 鈥淗e was a treasured son, brother, boyfriend, and friend to so many. He leaves behind a broken family that loves him so very much.鈥 We鈥檙e keeping him and his loved ones in our prayers. DAVIS HUNT

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馃殧 Something Has to Change Yesterday, Fox17 released an interview with Chief John Drake about the ongoing trend of repeat offenders committing violent crimes in Nashville. He reflected on a recent case: a felon with 105 offenses under his belt in custody for charges of rape and kidnapping. 鈥淵ou would think somewhere along the way he would have been held accountable,鈥 Drake said. 鈥淚t still would have been a little harsher probation. Maybe some wraparound services if he was mentally incompetent or had some issues, or spending more time incarcerated.鈥

During a December media roundtable, Mayor O鈥機onnell commented on this dynamic: 鈥淥ne thing that has come up repeatedly is that very often MNPD is not failing to apprehend suspects.鈥 The mayor also implied that the current process deserves a closer look. 鈥淭his is going to involve鈥 some initial review of that criminal legal process that will involve the District Attorney's Office [and the] judiciary,鈥 he added.

Drake said it will take the entire criminal justice system 鈥 the DA, parole, public defenders 鈥 to address the issue. Moreover, officers on the ground are having a hard time facing the victims of repeat violent offenders. 鈥淥n this side of the fence, we鈥檙e tired of having those conversations,鈥 he said. 鈥淲e want it to stop.鈥 MEGAN PODSIEDLIK

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馃毢 What Is A Woman? Today, Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti is holding a press conference to address the steps he plans to take regarding the federal government鈥檚 overhaul of Title IX. Defending the rights of women in sports, education, and beyond has been a top priority for the AG since he assumed the position. In September of 2022, Skrmetti signed a letter condemning the Biden administration鈥檚 redefinition of 鈥渟ex鈥 in Title IX to include 鈥済ender identity.鈥 Last year, he led a coalition of 16 attorneys general in urging the administration to uphold Title IX protections for women and girls. 

鈥淭N has been fighting the Administration over its unlawful approach to Title IX since it first issued guidance in 2021,鈥 Skremetti posted on X two weeks ago. 鈥淭N is prepared to defend Title IX and protect against unlawful regulations that redefine what sex really means.鈥 MEGAN PODSIEDLIK

DEVELOPMENT

  • California Closets Commercial Launches To Meet Nashville Development Demand (Now Next)
  • Longtime Nashville restaurateur launches sports bar in East Nashville (NBJ)
  • Waldo鈥檚 set to open near west side highway split (Post)
  • Belmont opens $180M medical school building (Post)
  • Mixed-use tower eyed for Pie Town (Post)
Entertainment

THINGS TO DO

View our calendar for the week here and our weekly film rundown here.

馃搮 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.

馃帶 On Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week.

馃懆馃徎鈥嶐煂 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide.

TONIGHT

馃幐 Greg Ashley @ The Blue Room, 7p, $12.95, Info
+ psych-folk

馃幐 Spanish Love Songs & Oso Oso @ The Basement East, 7p, $24, Info

馃幐 Iron and Wine In-Store @ Grimey's, 3p, Info

馃獣 The Tennessee Bluegrass Band @ Station Inn, 8p, $20, Info

馃幐 Honky Tonk Tuesday @ American Legion Post 82, 5p, Free, Info鈥屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸
+ two-step lessons @ 7p, The Cowpokes @ 8p

馃幒 Todd Day Wait @ The Underdog, 11:30p, Free, Info鈥屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸屸
+ Honky Tonk Tuesday afterparty, down the street