What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

Was the Nashville bomber’s treatment by police a double standard?

Nashville police said on Wednesday that they did not have enough evidence to search the property of the man named as the Christmas Day bomber when they went to his house last year. Anthony Quinn Warner's girlfriend reportedly told police in August 2019 that he had talked about building bombs in an RV on his property. Nashville council member Zulfat Suara joins Amna Nawaz to discuss.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Nashville police said today that they did not have enough evidence to search the property of the man named as the Christmas Day bomber when they went to his house last year.

    Anthony Warner's girlfriend reportedly told police in August of 2019 that he talked about building bombs in an R.V., but, when no one answered the door, the officers left, even though an R.V. was parked on the site.

    All that has raised questions in the community.

    Zulfat Suara is a city councilwoman-at-large. And she joins me now.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Councilwoman Suara, welcome to the "NewsHour," and thanks for making the time.

    So, this latest news we have now from Nashville police, they say they repeatedly tried to make contacts, but they couldn't with Mr. Warner, and that they didn't have probable cause to search his properties. What's your reaction to that?

  • Zulfat Suara:

    That that is not good enough, because for myself and a lot of people in my community, if it had been a Black person or a Muslim person, that door would have been — they would have done something.

    They would have found a warrant. And to know it is not just an MNPD, it was FBI that notified, and nothing was done, somebody dropped the ball.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Well, let me ask you about the way this is being talked about, because it was back on Sunday the FBI said they don't have enough evidence to call him a domestic terrorist. I know a lot of questions have been raised about why we haven't called it terrorism.

    Police say he has no significant criminal record. There's no evidence of any kind of specific ideology driving his action. What do you make of the way authorities are presenting this right now?

  • Zulfat Suara:

    I think he's not just the authorities, the media, is people generally, the citizens, it's that there is a double standard when it comes to how we react to things like this.

    We had an unfortunate event in Chattanooga not too long ago, where a Muslim man shot some people. And the FBI called — FBI called it an act of terrorism immediately. They did peddle back and said they shouldn't have.

    But what is upsetting is that we're not consistent. There is a double standard in how we treat crimes. And we should not. We should not. Regardless of the faith or the color of the perpetrator, it is the crime that we should focus on. And we should treat it all the same.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    When it comes to the investigation now, which they say is ongoing, and they're searching for any possible motive they can find, what is it that you and other local Nashville leaders and residents there want to see happen next?

  • Zulfat Suara:

    I would like to see the investigation lead to where we actually know what happened.

    We need to make sure that we also look at, how do we stop something like this from happening again? We need to have a conversation about how do police deal with tips and things like that. And, for me, I'm hoping that this tragedy allows us to also have a conversation about what people in the Black and brown community has been talking about, which is the double standard.

    And so I'm hoping that all of this, it's a tragedy, but I hope that we have the opportunity to start having a conversation on, how do we deal with this, how do we stay consistent, and how do the police, the government and all of us react to something like this?

    I want to say that, if it's a Muslim, the backlash would have been on the community, will be on his mosque, his family. Somebody like myself would have received e-mail. And I'm not seeing that.

    And why the hesitancy on the part of everybody is baffling. But I hope it's a learning opportunity for all of us as a community.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    When you look at the images from that day, the sheer enormity of the blast is really breathtaking.

    And we're fortunate that no one else was killed, and really largely due to the actions of the police that day. What has been the impact of that blast in Nashville? How have people that have been reacting?

  • Zulfat Suara:

    It took out about 41 buildings, when you see the images. Thank God, nobody was killed. The businesses will have to rebuild.

    And Nashville has been through a lot this year. We had a tornado. We're dealing with COVID. So, it's been — it's been a lot. But, as we talk about the tragedy, as we talk about our police, what police did a year ago, it is important for us to also make sure that we acknowledge the heroism of the officers that were on the ground, because, because of them, we were able to save a lot of lives.

    And we should be able to acknowledge that. And I'm grateful that they did that and that we were able to save a lot of lives.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Councilwoman-at-Large in Nashville Zulfat Suara, thank you so much for making the time to be with us today.

  • Zulfat Suara:

    Thank you for having me, and a happy new year to everyone.

Listen to this Segment