Racial justice advocates in Nashville and around the country share a common grievance: Police, they argue, treat African-Americans differently.
Nashville, though, hasn’t seen a recent high-profile police shooting or a traffic stop spiral into tragedy. Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson says officers here possess a high “moral ethic” and are better trained to de-escalate tense situations.
So what really happens on the street? To get an idea, we pulled data on arrests — one measure of police discretion — that the Metro Nashville Police Department reports to the state and the FBI.
We found that Nashville police arrest African-Americans at nearly three times the rate of others when adjusted for the city’s racial demographics. That’s roughly the same as the national average.
It’s a larger disparity than the state’s other police agencies combined, but not as lopsided as Memphis, where police arrest black people at more than three and a half times the rate of others. We looked at figures from 2001 through 2014, the most recent year of available comprehensive data. (continue reading at Tennessean)