NOAH protests highlights demand for change with Nashville police

    Metro Nashville Police in riot gear stand on Lower Broadway during a recent Black Lives Matter protest. (Photo: Alex Kent)
    Metro Nashville Police in on Lower Broadway during a recent protest. (Photo: Alex Kent)

    The recent case of mistaken identity in which members of the Metro Nashville Police Department raided the wrong apartment spurred a Thursday protest by a prominent Nashville community group.

    Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH) held a press conference at MNPD headquarters to amplify the group’s call for immediate police reform.

    “It’s important to us to let the public know that we wanted to take a stand right here, so it’s all about us showing the city, showing the public where we stand,” said NOAH spokesperson Shawn Whitsell, adding that they “didn’t want any questions where NOAH stood on these particular issues.”

    On Aug. 18, Nashville police mistakenly burst into the home of Nashville woman Azaria Hines while she and her family were sleeping. Officers were using outdated information from the Metro Development and Housing Agency and were seeking a former resident.

    “These things are traumatizing the community,” said Whitsell. 

    The incident drew comparisons to the killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 13, when police there entered Taylor’s apartment with a “no-knock” search warrant and exchanged gunfire with her boyfriend. 

    Representatives from NOAH have met with interim Police Chief John Drake to discuss police reform, specifically a cease of no-knock warrants and chokeholds, and want to give input into the selection of Nashville’s new police chief. 

    Whitsell says the group will continue to protest until significant change happens.  

    NOAH is a faith-based organization focused on exposing systemic racism and key issues including education, housing and economic equity.