District 8 Councilwoman Karen Bennett called Metro Police last week following a confrontation with District 5 Councilwoman Pam Murray outside East Branch Library, following a community meeting.
Bennett attended the April 28 meeting at the request of District 5 residents, who told her that Murray was not responding to their concerns. The meeting dealt with the rezoning of a property on Cleveland Street, which many neighbors oppose.
After the meeting, Bennett and attorney Jamie Hollin, who lives in Murray’s district, were exiting the library when Bennett approached Murray to offer condolences for the recent passing of a family member.
According to the police report, Bennett was then surrounded by Murray and several other African American individuals who became irate and yelled racial epithets at her.
After feeling threatened, Bennett got away and called police, but Murray and her group were gone before responding officers arrived.
The report did not lead to any charges nor was Murray interviewed regarding the incident.
The altercation outside the library last week came in advance of a combative Council meeting Tuesday night in which dozens of Murray’s constituents wore red T-shirts to the meeting in protest of three bills she has filed.
One of the bills would have allowed mobile vendors to operate on Cleveland Street, after Council previously passed legislation to not allow mobile vendors citywide. Murray withdrew that bill after Bennett tabled a motion to defer.
Afterwards, Murray said she was shocked by Bennett’s tabling motion and added that the action was “unethical.” Bennett refuted that claim, adding she was merely trying to represent citizens who felt ignored by Murray.
Murray has been under fire since the airing of a WTVF NewsChannel 5 report in late April that indicated she’s living a majority of the time in Detroit, where she works as a social worker.
After Tuesday’s meeting, Murray called the report false and said she only travels to Detroit for work twice a month for three or so days at a time. Murray’s Nashville residence is 802 Stockell Ave.
“I live in Nashville,” Murray said.
Murray wrote a letter attempted to explain her side of the incident with Bennett to Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors, which can be read here. The vice mayor suggested the two councilwomen resolve their differences, using a mediator if necessary.
Murray did not return a call for comment.