Metro Nashville Council Member Wants People Not Wearing a Mask to Be Charged with Murder or Attempted Murder


Metro Nashville At-Large Council Member Sharon Hurt said Wednesday during a virtual meeting of the Joint Public Safety and Health Committee that there should be stronger legislation for those not wearing masks and suggested they be charged with murder or attempted murder.

Hurt said that she works for an organization that, “If they pass the virus, then they are tried for murder or attempted murder.”

Hurt thinks the same standard should apply to the general public.

“This person who may very well pass this virus that’s out in the air because they’re not wearing a mask is basically doing the same thing to someone who contracts it and dies from it,” she said.

“Maybe there needs to be stronger legislation to say that if you do not wear a mask, and you subject exposure of this virus to someone else then there will be some stronger penalty as it is in other viruses that are exposed,” the council member added.

Hurt’s suggestion comes as the Nashville-Davidson County COVID-19 dashboard indicates a recent decline in new daily cases of COVID-19 and a fatality rate of 0.9 percent.

With regard to mask enforcement, Hurt was critical of the actions to date.

“It seems to me that we have been more reactive as opposed to proactive and a little too late, too little,” Hurt said.

Hurt had to be reminded by Metro Nashville’s Director of Legislative Affairs Mike Jameson, who also participated in the virtual meeting, whose jurisdiction it is to create a new code or class of criminal offenses.

“The Council does not have the opportunity on its own to create criminal legislation,” he said. “In terms of creating a new code or class of criminal offenses, that is a creature of state law.”

Hurt expressed her disappointment, “I was afraid that was going to be the answer.”

“I guess that’s the whole point of asking for something to be done as early as the Council was pushing,” she added.  “It seems it was not taken as seriously as it should have been and thus we are in the situation we are in right now.”

Hurt’s proposal came the same day that Mayor John Cooper issued a statement that the Metro Nashville Police Department was ordered to issue citations to persons not complying with the Health Department’s mask order.

The new initiative involves increasing police presence on Friday and Saturday nights with 24 officers conducting walking patrols on Broadway from 3:30 p.m. to midnight.  An additional six officers will be on ATVs to stop and cite any “transpotainment” vehicles operating in violation of the Health Department’s prohibition.

The additional 30 officers is an increase over the 19 school resource officers who have been on Broadway working on public mask compliance on prior Friday and Saturday nights since mid-July, the statement said.

Mayor Cooper once again enhanced his clampdown on Nashville’s main tourism attraction by prohibiting alcoholic beverage sale, possession or consumption except for on-premises or delivery through his Public Health Order 10 that went into effect Saturday.

The video of the Joint Public Safety and Health Committee can be watched here with Metro Council Member-At-Large Sharon Hurt beginning at the 1:01:40 mark.

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Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Tennessee Star.
Photo “Sharon Hurt” by Sharon Hurt.








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