By Clint Confehr
NASHVILLE, TN — Community groups, led by their NAACP branch, say they don’t trust Davidson County’s justice system since the shooting death of a black man 10 weeks ago.
“This officer needs to be held accountable,” said Sheila Clemmons Lee, mother of Jocques Clemmons who died Feb. 10 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He was shot in the back by Metro Police Officer Joshua Lippert near South 6th Street and Summer Place.
“If history is to repeat itself,” the branch said in a prepared statement, “we predict that there will be no fault attributed to Officer Lippert and the Metro Nashville Police Department … [and] … no officer will ever be held accountable for murdering a young black or brown man.
“The NAACP and other justice-seeking organizations stand in solidarity with Clemmons’ family. Within the confines of the law, we will do every thing in our power to get justice for Jocques.”
That message was announced Tuesday at NAACP offices on Jefferson Street. The session began and closed with chants; “No justice, no peace.”
“We want a heart-felt response” from Mayor Megan Barry, Demetria Jordan said. He wants “something genuine. It seems generic now.”
Branch Executive Committee member Marilyn Brown noted Barry’s authority over Police Chief Steve Anderson, saying “If the mayor doesn’t do the right thing, then she needs to be a one-termer.”
Several of 30 people standing for Clemmons said they distrust District Attorney General Glenn Funk’s panel to examine investigations by Metro Police and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
The panel was “still doing followup,” Funk said Monday. “It should be finished in a couple of weeks.”
State Rep. Brenda Gilmore said “Officer Lippert should not have been … [at Cayce Homes] He has a record of being too aggressive with young black men. He probably should not have been on the police department.”
Calling for change was the Rev. Davie Tucker Jr. of Beech Creek Missionary Baptist Church where black ministers met with Anderson three days after Clemmons died.
“The city needs to do … a new thing in the way we do policing …” said Tucker, demanding equal treatment by police. “This is an opportunity for the city to show that it can change … Right now it’s not just … Black and brown and poor folk have been treated unfairly by the entire criminal justice apparatus.”
Tucker wants “transformative initiatives” to stop or lessen the potential for police shootings. “It’s going to take resolve by the people who hold power who have a request from the people speaking from the margins who have no power.”
Tucker lives two blocks from the shooting scene. “If Nashville is going to be the ‘it city’ that it claims to be, it’s going to have to make some hard … decisions because I don’t think this situation is going… away … This whole process highlights that there is no trust and some make me feel like they don’t care what I think.”
“This is all about class and race … that’s the hard conversation that nobody wants to have… but it starts in situations like this… It’s yet to be determined” if Clemmons died in vain.
NAACP Branch Executive board member William Jordan said, “I want everything done fair and consistent.”
Other groups included Mothers Over Murder, Doug Patton’s law office, the Justice for Jacques Coalition, New Season Church, Church of Scientology, NAACP Veterans Affairs Committee, Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church, attorney Michael Hoskins for Clemmons’ family, the Nashville District of AME Churches’ presiding elder, and Brooks Memorial UMC.