Another police chief in the US steps down as pressure mounts

In this April 23, 2018 file photo, Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson speaks at a news conference in Nashville, Tenn. (File photo: AP)

Another police chief in a US city will be replaced on Thursday as the number of police officers being asked to step down continues to rise.

Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson, who has held his post in Tennessee since 2010, said that he would retire once a replacement is found. The town’s mayor announced that a search would begin to “find the right leader for this next chapter of community safety in Nashville.”

According to The Associated Press, Anderson was pressured to announce what he said will be his retirement after at least 15 Nashville Metro Council members called on the town’s mayor to ask for Anderson’s resignation.

Widespread calls and nationwide protests have rocked the US since May 25 after George Floyd, a black man, was killed by a white police officer who dug his knee into Floyd’s neck for almost eight minutes.

A similar shakeup took place earlier in the week in Richmond, Virginia, after the local mayor asked for the Richmond police chief to step down.

“Today, Mayor Stoney announced that he requested and received Chief of Police William Smith’s resignation,” a statement from the mayor Levar Stoney read on Tuesday.

“I have high expectations of the Richmond Police Department,” the statement said. “And at a minimum, I expect them to be willing to come around the table with the community to reform and reimagine public safety.”

Police departments have come under increased scrutiny and questioning following the injuries and deaths during the anti-racism protests.

Stoney said one of the things that needed to be changed was the fact that police officers are asked to “respond to every type of crisis, from homelessness to mental health crises.”

Richmond Police Chief William Smith, left, is confronted by a protester as he attempts to address a large crowd in front of City Hall, Tuesday June 2, 2020, in Richmond, Va.

Richmond Police Chief William Smith, left, is confronted by a protester as he attempts to address a large crowd in front of City Hall, Tuesday June 2, 2020, in Richmond, Va.

Elsewhere, the Atlanta police chief came under fire after an officer shot and killed Rayshard Brooks following a sobriety check. Erika Shields, the police chief, resigned with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms demanding the firing of the police officer who shot Brooks.

Protests have continued in major cities across the US, with activists calling for systemic reforms and an end to racial bias.

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday to create better methods of tracking police officers’ behavior, financial incentives for police departments practicing exemplary ways and tactics, and banning chokeholds against suspects unless an officer’s life is at risk.

Read more: As civil unrest rages in US amid George Floyd protests, the world watches uneasily

Systemic discrimination, not Trump, is the problem: Analyst on George Floyd protests

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Last Update: Friday, 19 June 2020 KSA 02:00 - GMT 23:00
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