Nashville District Attorney Calls For Changes To Policing And Courts After Clemmons Shooting

May 15, 2017

Although a Metro police officer will not face charges for the February shooting of an African-American man, District Attorney Glenn Funk is calling for changes.

The policy recommendations could affect how both law enforcement and the courts operate.

Funk determined last week that Officer Joshua Lippert acted in self-defense when he killed Jocques Clemmons after a traffic stop in East Nashville. But he adds there are some aspects of the shooting that raise questions.

"Jocques Clemmons never verbally threatened Officer Lippert," Funk noted at a press conference Thursday. "He never struck Officer Lippert. He never stopped and directly aimed his handgun at Officer Lippert."

Critics of the Metro Nashville Police Department point to such facts to argue Lippert mishandled the confrontation with Clemmons.

Funk says claims of unfair police practices need to be addressed. He says police should hold formal reviews any time an officer draws his gun.

Funk also says a study group needs to be set up to review the so-called "Driving While Black" report. It found Nashville police stop and search vehicles with African-Americans at the wheel more often than other ethnic groups. And the district attorney says the deparment should recruit more minority officers.

When people are arrested, Funk says they should not be held in jail before misdemeanor trials. He also believes a commission should be established to review potentially wrongful convictions. Both have been sought by advocates for criminal justice reform.

Metro police Chief Steve Anderson says Funk’s criticism is “political posturing.”