James Shaw Jr. given second chance interview for Community Oversight Board

James Shaw Jr. (WZTV)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Nearly 200 people have been interviewed for Nashville’s Community Oversight Board created in November to oversee Metro Police.

Waffle House hero James Shaw Jr. was one of them; however, he was also the first person to show up late to the interview which had to be rescheduled.

Council member Russ Pulley says one of the things boards generally struggle with is getting people to show up all the time, which is why Shaw Jr.’s lateness is concerning to him.

Pulley: “Convince me why I shouldn't be concerned about you?”

Shaw Jr.: “Convince you?”

Pulley: “Yeah.”

Shaw Jr.: “I can't 100 percent convince you.”

Each interviewee had a 10-minute slot, and Shaw Jr. showed up 15 minutes after his time because he said he went to the wrong building.

Shaw Jr. said he doesn't have much background in civil rights, but says his platform is very large and believes his voice is very valuable.

“Almost every policeman I’ve talked to knows me, they kind of think a lot of me. Same as firemen, and I think a lot of policemen and firemen, being in the situation I was in, and I respect them highly, and they respect me highly,” he said.

The rules say a nominee who doesn't show up at the appointed time shall be deemed to have withdrawn his/her name from nomination, but the vice mayor says they just wanted to be accommodating.

“It's a volunteer capacity; they're serving. If they want to serve, we want to let them serve. Obviously, they are benefiting the city by agreeing to serve, so we are trying to accommodate.”

He says there's no special treatment here, someone else showed up almost an hour late Saturday and they let that person interview.

Almost 160 people were interviewed for the 11-person board.

“We had to put some stipulations in; we couldn’t have 150 people show up whenever they wanted to,” Shulman said.

He says he's amazed at the level of interest, but also very impressed and proud they could pull this off and interview everyone in a few days because they've never done anything like this before.

As far as qualities, the board is looking for people who are committed to doing this job, though it's purely volunteer, and understand the significance of what the Community Oversight Board was created for.

The council will vote on Tuesday on who those 11 people will be, but they have until January 31 to make the final decisions.

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