DA: Officer will not be charged in deadly shooting - WSMV News 4

DA: Officer will not be charged in deadly shooting

Jocques Clemmons was shot and killed by a Metro police officer after a traffic stop in February. (WSMV file photo) Jocques Clemmons was shot and killed by a Metro police officer after a traffic stop in February. (WSMV file photo)
Metro Police Officer Josh Lippert (Photo: Metro Nashville Police Department) Metro Police Officer Josh Lippert (Photo: Metro Nashville Police Department)
The scene of the shooting of Jocques Clemmons in Cayce Homes. (WSMV) The scene of the shooting of Jocques Clemmons in Cayce Homes. (WSMV)

Metro Police Officer Joshua Lippert has been cleared in the shooting death of Jocques Clemmons.

District Attorney General Glenn Funk announced his decision Thursday afternoon.

The police department’s Office of Professional Accountability conducted the internal investigation into the shooting at Cayce Homes on Feb. 10. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation also investigated the shooting at Funk’s request.

Clemmons’ family met with the district attorney on Thursday about his decision and how he came to that conclusion. Many family members walked out of that meeting with tears in their eyes.

READ the full report

The shooting happened on Feb. 10 after police said Officer Lippert, a flex officer assigned to the East Precinct, saw Clemmons run a stop sign.

The 19-page report brings some new details to light.

According to the report, a witness who lives at Cayce Homes had gone home for lunch and was sitting in her car when the altercation started.

The woman told police she thought it was two children running behind her car, but then saw Lippert throw Clemmons to the ground.

The woman said she heard several commands from Lippert for Clemmons to put up his hands. She said Clemmons was resisting.

She then saw Clemmons’ gun fall. She said Clemmons picked up the gun again.

The woman said she did not see the actual shooting. She said she drove off at some point to get her children.

The report also reveals more of what Lippert said happened.

In the investigative summary, Lippert said he first drew his stun gun, but did not use it.

When he saw the gun fall to the ground, Lippert said he told Clemmons, “Don’t go for it! Don’t go for it!”

Lippert said he and Clemmons looked eye to eye before the shots were fired. The officer described it as a “me or you” moment.

While attempting to administer aid afterward, Lippert told Clemmons, “Stay with me,” trying to comfort him.

Lippert was interviewed twice by investigators. The first time was the evening of the shooting. The second was three days later after he was able to watch surveillance video.

Both statements were similar, although Lippert said he recalled a few more details after seeing the video.

Multiple sources told Channel 4 that Metro police are preparing for a significant community reaction after the decision is announced.

Click here to read Black Lives Matter Nashville's response to the district attorney's decision.

This deadly shooting is more than just this expected report. It changed how deadly police encounters are handled in Nashville and pushed for body cameras to be purchased for Metro Police.

The shooting happened on Feb. 10 after Lippert reportedly watched Clemmons run a stop sign in the James Cayce public housing development.

The trouble began when Lippert approached Clemmons to question him about it.

Surveillance video shows Clemmons trying to run around the officer. He then turns around and runs the opposite direction. Seconds later, the chase continued.

The video shows Lippert chasing Clemmons through a parking lot.

Seconds before 12:56 p.m., Lippert catches up with Clemmons.

In the video, Clemmons is shown on the ground. Police said he dropped a loaded gun.

Police said Lippert tried to kick it away, but was unsuccessful and Clemmons picked it back up.

Officials said Lippert made repeated commands for him to drop the gun, but he refused.

A news release at the time said Lippert believed he was in imminent danger and began shooting as Clemmons was turning to move between two vehicles.

Lippert fired three shots. An autopsy confirmed Clemmons was hit twice in the back and once in the hip.

Police said Lippert and fellow officers rendered first aid until the fire department arrived.

The entire incident, from running the stop sign to Lippert shooting Clemmons, lasted 57 seconds.

The autopsy also confirmed that all three bullets came from behind.

The toxicology report found Clemmons tested positive for a small amount of alcohol and a trace amount of marijuana in his system.

Questions remain about the time of that day’s events.

Channel 4 took the surveillance video and matched the time stamps with the police narrative.

Days after the deadly shooting, a short video clip from a witness surfaced adding another layer of questions.

The cellphone video was recorded by someone close to the scene just after Clemmons was shot by Lippert. It left some wondering how quickly officers “rendered first aid” after the shooting.

In February, police stressed that point. Some comments by Police Chief Steve Anderson suggested a bit of concern over how the crime scene was handled.

Channel 4 matched the alternate view with the security footage police released.

The video clips were synched according to time and the position of people in the frame.

Analyzing the synced clips, the witness video was taken at 1:02:12 p.m. on Feb. 10, the day Clemmons was shot and killed.

That evening, police said in a press release that “officers rendered first aid until fire department personnel arrived.”

In the video, the fire department arrived about a minute after the witness video was taken at 1:03:22 p.m.

Fire officials confirmed that is when the first vehicle and personnel was on the scene.

There have also been questions raised about why Clemmons’ gun was retrieved by Lippert from the parking lot and placed into a police car for safekeeping.

“Keep in mind you had one officer there and you had an unsecured scene, and that has to happen,” said Anderson in February. “Ideally if there are more officers there, we would like it to lay where it was, but in that situation, certainly, it was appropriate for him to secure that weapon while everything else was going on.”

The shots were fired just after 12:56 p.m. Another officer arrived on the scene one minute later.

At that point, a minute after the shooting, it doesn’t appear Lippert has taken a gun to a police car.

Another minute goes by and another police car arrived. That officer can be seen unrolling crime scene tape.

It’s almost a full five minutes after the shooting before Lippert appeared to walk back in the direction of his police car, presumably with the gun.

The full investigative file was not part of what was released on Thursday. Under Tennessee law, the TBI cannot release that information.

On Monday, District Attorney Glenn Funk and TBI Director Mark Gwyn filed a motion in Davidson County Chancery Court asking a judge to release the findings of the investigation. A hearing for that motion has been set for May 22.

According to police records, Lippert has been suspended several times over the last four years. Disciplinary records show that two of those suspensions were the result of “poor judgment” involving the use of force. One of those incidents involved a driver who was pulled out of his car, even though he was willing to step out if a supervisor was present. His personnel file also included more than a dozen awards for outstanding performance on duty, including a lifesaving award in 2014 for performing CPR on an unconscious woman at Bridgestone Arena.

Stay with Channel 4 and WSMV.com for updates to this story.

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