Bishop Joseph Walker of Mount Zion Baptist Church says he wants to know what police are doing to overcome mistrust. He wants to know what their protocol is if a tense racial incident happens.
So he invited the Nashville police chief, the commanders from all eight police precincts, local politicians and faith leaders to talk about the question: How would Nashville handle a situation like the one in Ferguson, Missouri? And how can the city prevent it altogether?
Thursday night’s town hall meeting comes after a police officer shot and killed a young African American man in Ferguson, setting off nearly two weeks of unrest between protesters and police. But Walker, who leads one of the largest African-American churches in the state, says no city is immune to racial tensions.
“People have heightened passions around it, and really need to kind of have their concerns addressed,” he says.
Police spokesman Don Aaron says they accepted the invitation immediately. He says when incidents arise like the one in Ferguson, it’s most important to be transparent with information.
“The communication there has been seriously lacking, and would not have been lacking in this department,” he says.
The meeting will also highlight mentorships for young men. It starts at 7:30 at Mount Zion’s Jefferson Street location.