The Justice for Jocques Coalition held a town hall meeting Saturday at which they slammed Nashville city officials for what they perceive as injustice in the case of a white police officer who fatally shot an armed black man.
Officer Josh Lippert was found to be acting in self-defense in the Feb. 10 shooting of Jocques Scott Clemmons.
Called “The People’s Town Hall,” Saturday’s event was held at First Baptist Church South Inglewood. City officials were invited to attend. District Attorney Glenn Funk and Mayor Megan Barry sent representatives who listened but referred concerns to Funk and Barry directly. The Metro Nashville Police Department did not send anyone.
“When is the mayor going to be the mayor and handle the police chief?,” said Davie Tucker, pastor of Beech Creek Missionary Baptist Church, according to NewsChannel 5. “When is the DA going to be the DA and be the chief prosecutor in this jurisdiction and stop allowing the police to do it?”
Clemmons was shot by Lippert at the Cayce Homes public housing development in East Nashville after the officer saw Clemmons run a stop sign, which led to a foot chase, physical confrontation and Clemmons pointing a gun toward the officer.
On May 11, District Attorney Funk announced he would not file charges against Lippert because it was determined he was acting in self-defense. However, a report released by the district attorney’s office criticized police for creating an appearance of bias in how they conducted their investigation. The criticism has led to a feud between Funk and Police Chief Steve Anderson.
In a statement to Fox 17 News, Mayor Barry said she would get involved to try to ease tensions.
“I will be meeting with General Funk and Chief Anderson to discuss their ongoing concerns about how we best instill confidence in all parts of our criminal justice system – from best practices for policing to how our DA and police work together to ensure trust and transparency,” Barry said in the statement. “We will work through differences and we will take any steps necessary to move forward. The public and the men and women of MNPD deserve no less.”
The Justice for Jocques Coalition has called for Lippert to be fired and for the end of “police occupation” of public housing developments, among other demands.
The Nashville chapter of Black Lives Matter has also raised its voice in the matter. After the May 11 announcement that the district attorney would not file charges against the officer, the group released a statement saying, “While this announcement is disheartening, we know fully the long history of charges being dropped, cases dismissed, or officers not being indicted when it comes to Black people being murdered by the police…Jocques’ murder is a function of the continued occupation and over-policing of communities of color in Nashville.”