NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A group is calling for Metro police to have body cameras now.

Police haven't ordered them because of the city's budget crisis.

The group called Justice for Jocques chanted outside Mayor John Cooper's office on Tuesday.

“We don't have money. The only power we have is in our bodies and in our voices," Theeda Murphy, the group's organizer said.

The group is named after Jocques Clemmons who was shot and killed by a Metro police officer in February 2017. His mother, Sheila, has been fighting for cameras.

“We're not laying down anymore. We're not and if we have to do something every week until somebody hears us then that's what we'll do," said Sheila Clemmons Lee, Jocques Clemmons’ mother.

Police said they haven't ordered the body cameras yet. They said they're on hold after the state comptroller's office told the city they needed to get their finances in order or the state would take over.

"Some issues are bigger than money and I hope that he will also realize the cost of maintaining the status quo," Murphy said.

Metro Council has set aside $15 million for the deployment of body cameras. So far, the police department has spent $5 million to start the program.

"This is just a way to ensure that the police will think before they pull that trigger," Lee said.

Mayor Cooper's office issued a statement to News4 on Tuesday:

"Accountability is a top priority for Mayor Cooper’s administration. Critical decisions about policy and protocols for sharing information across the criminal justice system must be resolved before Metro can move ahead with the deployment and testing of body-worn cameras. The Mayor’s Office is working expeditiously with the DA, Metro Police, and other criminal justice agencies to finalize a strategy for resolving these issues. We’ve made a great deal of progress in recent weeks, thanks to the hard work of many parties. We look forward to sharing a practical, evidence-based plan for initial camera deployment and testing in the coming weeks."

 

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Reporter

Cameron Taylor is a national Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist who joined the News 4 team in December 2018.

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