Councilman Russ Pulley asked inappropriate question during Oversight interview, nominee says [VIDEO]

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Some Metro Council members were caught in a hot mic moment on Saturday, along with the Vice Mayor. One of the topics was ‘damage control’ for what happened during the interview of Arnold Hayes, a nominee for the Community Oversight Board.

Arnold Hayes is a “survivor of police misconduct”, nearly 4 decades prior, when a gun was pulled during a traffic stop. Part of that experience is what makes him want to serve on Nashville’s Community Oversight Board. During his interview last week, Metro Councilman Russ Pulley (recently accused of special treatment here) broke the standard carried out in every other interview, and began bringing up tweets Hayes made in the past, something no other council member did for any other nominee.

Hayes writes:

“There was one question, raised by Council Member Russ Pulley during my interview, from one of my Twitter Tweets that I deemed inappropriate and unrelated to the subject at hand.”

During the interview, Council member Russ Pulley asks Hayes to explain the police misconduct he experienced, then challenges him that the event may not have been racial profiling, despite how Hayes experienced it, first hand. It appeared as if Pulley did not believe there was racism in the criminal justice system, and that Hayes had never experienced it.

It was a pleasure to interview with subcommittee number one on Wednesday January 16 . I would like to thank them for the opportunity to answer their questions and to outline the reasons why I should be confirmed to serve on Nashville’s first Community Oversight Board. Again this will probably be the most important, high profile, and challenging board every in Nashville. Based on the facts, the board will often have to make decisions that will be unpopular with both the public and law enforcement. Besides the standard requirements, board members will need to be able to handle pressure – I am well suited for this challenge. There was one question, raised by Council Member Russ Pulley during my interview, from one of my Twitter Tweets that I deemed inappropriate and unrelated to the subject at hand. For this reason, I felt the need to further discuss the tweet and the associated questions that were raised by Member Pulley. After going back and reviewing the tweet that was almost a year old, I would have appreciated it if Member Pulley would have either read the entire tweet or stated that it was a part of a tread that was referencing the Prophet Amos and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King (portion that was referenced is in bold). · If the Prophet Amos was alive today he would probably say: I am sick of MLK annual ceremonies and banquets unless that are followed up with action. · I am sick of streets being named for the “foot soldiers of justice” while ignoring their demands. · I am sick of those are unaffected by officer miscount saying that there is no problem. · I am sick of people either saying or thinking that all police or good and all people of I am sick of people either saying or thinking that all police or good and all people of color are bad. · Want to honor the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Start by letting “justice roll down color are bad. like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Start by supporting and voting for a Community Oversight Board for Nashville. Over the past two years, I have had a level of respect for Member Pulley, this is why I am perplexed why he would associate this tweet as racist. Furthermore, he seemed to be grasping for reasons to infer that I would be unable to be open and fair if I am selected for the board. Being fair, ethical and respecting all people is Page 1 of 2 COB 1/16/2019 Interview Follow-up Comments - Nominee Arnold Hayes 1/20/19, 9(04 PM something that I hold dear. My six references, including Senator Brenda Gilmore, and Tennessee NAACP President Gloria Sweet-Love tend to agree. The tweet was sent on April 4, 2018, on the anniversary of the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King and the announcement of the COB charter referendum. The tweet resulted in a follow-up question, “If I thought that the criminal justice system was racist?” My answer was yes, but Member Pulley appeared to question that answer. For many racism occurs when people that are prejudice misuse power through systems and institutions. When I think of the disproportionate number of people of color that are caught up in the criminal justice system, along with support data from the Driving While Black and Policing Project highlighting the lopsided number of traffic stops against African Americans in Nashville, it is highly likely that race is one factor in our current criminal justice system. Before we can solve problems it is important to first acknowledge that they exist. No action is needed for this letter. I am only sending it in an attempt to clarity an allegation that was misleading and in my opinion should never have been made during my recent interview. Again, if selected I look forward to serving on this important board.

Pulley then says he wants to refer to the nominee’s twitter feed, and says “it’s quite clear that you’re active in the movement for the COB and began to respond to tweets that Hayes had posted or retweeted in reference to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  alleging they were racist, and repeatedly asked if Hayes believed there was racism in our criminal justice system, and further challenged that Hayes could not be unbiased if an allegation by a black victim against a white officer came before the board, making him repeat his answer. Pulley was eventually cut off by other council members.

The tweet in question was sent on April 4, 2018, on the anniversary of the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin
Luther King and the announcement of the COB charter referendum.

The full video of the interview is below:

Here are the tweets that prompted Pulley’s questions:

Metro Council meets Tuesday night to elected the members of Nashville’s first Community Oversight Board.

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