Clarksville TN Mayor Johnny Piper Tries to Block Key Black Leaders From Having Input in Selection of a New Police Chief
Released on = February 3, 2007, 3:24 am
Press Release Author = Terry McMoore / Urban Resource Center
Industry = Government
Press Release Summary = 14 federal Discrimination lawsuits have been filed by several Clarksville police offices. The lawsuits range form Racism, Intimidation, Hostile Work Environment, Unfair Promotion Process, Threats etc.
The City of Clarksville has settled two lawsuits out of court for $265,000. Juries in federal court have awarded three officers a total of $775,000. Several more lawsuits are scheduled to be heard later this year.
Press Release Body = Major concerns and input from the community on the selection of a new Clarksville Police Chief. Members of the community & Mr. McMoore have expressed concerns on the past two Chiefs of Police leadership and conduct during their tenures with the police department. Also how many of the issues that eventually rose up during their tenure involved racial profiling, hostile work environment, discrimination, intimidation, and racism etc.
The time line of past Police Chiefs, Lavoyed Hudgins and Mark Smith show a pattern that started and carried over from then Mayor Johnny Piper's term and well into former Mayor Don Trotter's term.
1999 Complaints of racism and discrimination start to surface out of the police department. Civil Rights leaders meet with Mayor and Chief of Police regarding complaints.
2000 Police Chief Lavoyed Hudgins initiated a "City Wide Drug Sweep" where 44 alleged African American drug dealers were arrested and one alleged White drug deal was arrested in this sting. Issues of racial profiling are brought up throughout the community and in Federal courts.
A year later U.S. Federal judge drops charges based on evidence of racial profiling.
2001 Police Chief Lavoyed Hudgins resigns stating he will pursue other business adventures.
Deputy Police Chief Mark Smith is appointed Clarksville's new Police Chief. Lawsuits continued to come out of police department.
2002 One way street signs are put up in Lincoln Homes, a public housing project. Residents feel like they are being caged in like animals and rumors start to surface about fencing in the project coming next. Police Chief Smith stands by his decision to put up one way street signs.
Lincoln homes residents began making complaints of harassment, intimidation and feeling like they were living in a war zone. One way signs were removed along with off limits status to the military. Soldiers are now able to visit family members who live in public housing.
Hangman noose found near black officers' desk. It stayed in place for weeks before it was removed. Noose is written off by police department heads as a noose for holding horses. Pace of lawsuits coming out of police department claiming intimidation and hostile working environment picks up.
2003 Police officer who filed a lawsuit is fired on charges of not doing his job. Officer appeals the firing and later is reinstated with back pay.
Rumors continue to persist that all public housing residents will be required to have a sticker placed on their cars to signify that they are from a public housing area. Local civil rights activist compare this to the marking of Jews during the Holocaust. Rumor could not be confirmed or denied.
2004 White police officer files federal lawsuit claiming he has endured more than two years of threats, abuse and intimidation from co-workers because he reported another officer for using inappropriate language referring to another race.
2005 City loses another Federal lawsuit meanwhile a Clarksville Police department Lieutenant and Captain file lawsuits against two lawsuit officers and a civil rights activist claiming libel and slander charges.
2006 To date fourteen discrimination lawsuits have been filed against the city of Clarksville and Chief Mark Smith and members of the police department by current and former police officers. Mark Smith remains Clarksville Police Chief. Johnny Piper is elected Mayor of Clarksville, TN once again.
2007 Mark Smith resigns as Clarksville's Chief of Police along with Deputy Chief Bob Davis.