A new commission is investigating the Metro Nashville Police Department’s handling of a 2019 tip involving the Christmas bomber.
MNPD created the group after facing criticism for its failure to prevent the explosion.
Now, that board will be reviewing the timeline of the police investigation into a 2019 report that Anthony Warner was building bombs. Director Jill Fitcheard says her agency will be focused on whether officers violated any policies.
“My hope is to review all of that — all of the relevant information, all the reports, all the processes and steps that were taken and that the officers took to ensure that the initial allegations were taken seriously,” she says.
Though the Community Oversight Board typically only has jurisdiction over MNPD, Fitcheard says this unique assignment will allow her team to also review the actions of federal law enforcement partners.
“The board’s function to review is somewhat limited,” she says. “I think the importance of this particular review panel is the fact that we’re also able to review what happened and the steps that were taken that included the other agencies that were involved that we don’t have any, really, authority to investigate.”
The group includes two MNPD staffers and three outsiders:
- Dwayne Green, deputy chief of MNPD’s Community Services Bureau
- Kathy Morante, director of MNPD’s Office of Professional Accountability
- Jill Fitcheard, director of Metro Nashville Community Oversight
- Jennifer Gamble, chair of the Metro Council’s public safety committee
- Ed Yarbrough, for U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee
Chief John Drake says the group will interview officers involved in the 2019 case and determine if any missteps could have been avoided.
Samantha Max is a Report for America corps member.