OP-ED: Can Chief Anderson Survive?

During a climate where Americans continue to go to the streets to protest for police reform and against social injustice, in Nashville there is a growing pressure for Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) Chief Steven Anderson to step down from his position.

MNPD Police Chief Chief Steven Anderson (Photo by:
MNPD Police Chief Chief Steven Anderson (Photo by:

Anderson has become the focus of sharp criticism in recent years because of his resistance to have transparency in his department, particularly when it comes to the interaction of the MNPD with the black community.

The call for Anderson’s resignation intensified this month as more community leaders have spoken out against the chief’s practices. Last week more than a dozen Metro Council members asked Anderson to resign, followed by the ACLU of Tennessee stating that the changes at MNPD have to start at the top.

Yesterday several African American pastors held a press conference at Greater Revelations Missionary Baptist Church in what seemed to be support of Anderson. The problem was the faith leaders did not seem to be on the same page. While some of the pastors were appeared at first to be on the side of Anderson, others spoke about sitting down to discuss the issue of injustices facing blacks in Nashville. These conversations are what will make them decide if they will throw their full support behind the chief.

This meeting of pastors did nothing to help change the minds of those in the community who believe that Anderson’s time as chief should come to an end. The young activists who have taken to the streets of Nashville in protest of the death of George Floyd want immediate change in how blacks are policed in their city. There is still anger over the deaths of Daniel Hambrick and Jocques Clemmons, two black men killed by white MNPD police officers.

Recently we have seen the resignations of Atlanta police Chief Erika Shields and Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad. These are not isolated incidents and this trend will continue in other major cities throughout the country.

It no longer appears if Chief Anderson will be gone, but when he will resign or be fired.


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