DA's office releases Jocques Clemmons' shooting report - WSMV Channel 4

DA's office releases full Jocques Clemmons' shooting report

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Jocques Clemmons (L) was shot and killed on Feb. 10 by Officer Joshua Lippert. (WSMV) Jocques Clemmons (L) was shot and killed on Feb. 10 by Officer Joshua Lippert. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The Davidson County District Attorney's Office has released the TBI’s full investigative file into the police shooting death of Jocques Clemmons.

Clemmons was shot and killed by Metro Police Officer Joshua Lippert after a confrontation during a traffic stop in the James Cayce public housing development on Feb. 10.

Click to read report

Lippert told investigators that when Clemmons first got out of the car after running a stop sign, he told Clemmons, “Hey man, just step back in the car for me.”

Lippert said Clemmons then charged toward him and “body checked" him.

The officer added more details about the encounter after watching the video, saying, “From the tape, it looks like his left shoulder impacts my left shoulder.” Investigators told Lippert they didn’t want him to "intermingle" what he was seeing on the tape with what he actually remembered happening.

“Ultimately my perception is he’s square out with me, pistol in his hand, and he is a threat. That’s when I decide that he is a lethal threat,” Lippert told investigators, according to the report.

Lippert said he wasn’t trying to speak badly of Clemmons, but said he was like a “cornered animal,” adding he had a “me or you look in his eye.”

The Metro police report said Clemmons didn’t say anything after he was shot, but the TBI report states he was in distress on the ground saying, “I can’t breathe.” Lippert said he tried to comfort Clemmons as he waited for medics to arrive

One of the bullets had hit Clemmons’ rib and lung. Another hit his internal organs. Clemmons later died during surgery.

The incident has been listed as an aggravated assault against the officer. Police say Lippert and Clemmons got into a scuffle. The TBI report reveals Lippert minor injuries: "a strained or pulled leg muscle." He was treated by the Nashville Fire Department.

According to the TBI report, a witness claims that Lippert used a racial slur after shooting Clemmons. Lippert denies that claim.

The witness who made that statement was Melvin Curtis. When Metro police conducted their own interview, Curtis didn’t say that ever happened.

A woman who shot Facebook video of the shooting said she never heard any racial comment and never saw Curtis.Lippert has been accused of using derogatory speech in the past. A driver told Channel 4 that during a 2015 traffic stop, Lippert and several other officers used a slur against him. It was never determined if that actually happened.

The TBI report noted the gun has been purchased by a woman who lives in Cheatham County. She told officers the gun had been stolen from her during a burglary in 2001 or 2002. She later told Metro police she may have given them misinformation and that the gun in question was actually a replacement gun purchased after her first gun was stolen. She said she had not seen the gun since 2015. It was stored in a filing cabinet. She later indicated her son, who had been in her home Christmas of 2015, also knew Clemmons.  

The TBI also interviewed Durelle Goodner, who was riding in the car with Clemmons at the time of the traffic stop. 

Goodner said he didn’t see a gun on Clemmons that day and never knew Clemmons to carry one.

Metro police said they were not allowed to interview Goodner. Officers had asked TBI agents for his information. The TBI would not share it, expressing concerns that sharing information would hinder independence between the two departments.

Goodner said he never saw the officer or Clemmons after he left the SUV, but he did hear gunshots. At that point, Goodner called his cousin to pick him up.

During an interview, Lippert said he fired shots as soon as he saw the barrel of Clemmons’ pistol pointed at him. He said he fired three shots as quickly as possible to eliminate the threat.

The report also states the gun held by Clemmons was stolen.

History of the case

The DA's office and TBI had to request permission to release the file. Normally TBI investigative files are private. This case marks the first time the TBI has been called in to take over a fatal shooting involving a police officer.

The Metro Nashville Police Department released its investigative file last month after the case closed, and Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk announced he would not be recommending charges against Lippert.

Metro police say Clemmons ran a traffic sign at the intersection of South 6th Street and Summer Place on the afternoon of Feb. 10. Lippert drove up in an unmarked police car with flashing blue lights to stop Clemmons for the traffic violation. Clemmons ran from the officer and a scuffle began in the parking lot of James Cayce homes. Police say a revolver fell from Clemmons clothing and he picked it up, ignoring Lippert's commands not to.

Clemmons told supervisors he pulled out a stun gun, but put it back into the holster when Clemmons picked up the gun. Lippert shot Clemmons three times in the back, according to autopsy reports, as Clemmons ran away between two cars.

Clemmons' family has argued the force was excessive and that Clemmons should not have been shot.

They called for Lippert to be prosecuted and fired from the department. The Clemmons family expressed a lack of confidence in the department's ability to investigate its own officer and pushed for the TBI to take over an independent investigation. Lippert has been on administrative duty for the last few months since the shooting, and he remains in that role.

Citizens groups held vigils and protests pushing for justice for Clemmons and transparency.

Mayor Megan Barry released statements asking for peaceful engagement during the investigation.

In a press conference after deciding not to seek an indictment against Lippert, Funk pointed out a number of issues the DA's office disagreed with in MNPD's investigative reporting practices, including the perception of potential bias in the police department's reporting.

Subsequently, Funk and Police Chief Steve Anderson engaged in a war of words over policy and the perception of bias. Anderson strongly denied any bias and expressed the DA's office did not accurately comprehend the reports. Mayor Barry called on the two departments to meet and come to a point of understanding on how they will work together moving forward. 

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

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