Nashville, TN – The city of Nashville Council Member Bob Mendes criticized police for not following up on a tip about the Nashville bomber and said if the suspect was a black Muslim instead of a white man police would have had a different response.
In August of 2019, the Nashville bomber’s girlfriend was allegedly making suicidal threats and transported by police for a psychological evaluation.
While they were transporting her, she told officers that her boyfriend talked frequently about the military and bomb making and was making explosives in his recreational vehicle, according to the Washington Post.
Anthony Warner would later die when he detonated a bomb in his recreational vehicle in downtown Nashville on Christmas morning, injuring eight people.
Police paid a visit to his home after receiving the tip from his girlfriend but were not able to investigate further after they were unable to develop probable cause for a warrant and Warner didn’t respond to knocks on his door, the Washington Post reported.
“The guy’s girlfriend called the cops, told them the house, told them what he was doing, said it was in the RV. Our criminal justice system didn’t catch it,” Mendes told The Washington Post. “They let it go. Objectively, that’s a failure. My biggest concern is to figure out how, god forbid, if that circumstance happens again there’s a better result.”
“There’s no getting around that if the girlfriend had said he’s cooking meth in the RV maybe it would have driven a different response,” Mendes said, according to the Washington Post. “If it had been a 30-year-old African American Muslim man instead of a 63-year-old white man, it would have driven a different response.”
Warner’s girlfriend, Pamela Perry, had told the police about Warner’s bomb building at his residence.
The police did knock on Warner’s door but got no answer. One police officer tried for more than a week to reach Warner but was not able to make any contact with the bomber, according to the Washington Post.
The officers contacted the FBI for background on Warner, but they had no information on him besides a marijuana arrest in the 1970s.
The police supervisors were informed, but police were unable to establish probable cause.
Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake defended his department’s response to the tip.
“If we had probable cause to get into the home with a search warrant, we would have,” Chief Drake said. “Maybe we could have followed up more. Hindsight is 2020.”
Chief Drake said the department routinely gets tips that don’t “pan out,” according to The Tennessean.
“We don’t get a lot of bomb tips like that, but you get a lot,” Chief Drake said, according to The Tennessean. “They followed up on it, officers didn’t take it lightly, but they didn’t have anything else to go on.”