This post has been updated to include details on a protest Tuesday night.
Metro Police have gone back on a key detail in the case of an officer who shot and killed a man who was running away. The department now says the man did not shove the officer before he took off across a parking lot.
Police released surveillance video within hours of the shooting on Friday. One clip was zoomed in and appears to show Jocques Clemmons slamming into Officer Joshua Lippert, who had just approached him for running a stop sign. Police called it a body check.
But now the department has released video from a new angle, which it says was just made available because of a broken server at the James Cayce housing projects, owned by the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency. It seems to show Clemmons getting out of his car, seeing the officer and then running one way and cutting back the other.
Officer Lippert caught up and scuffled with Clemmons, who according to police, dropped a revolver on the ground. The department says Clemmons picked it back up and refused orders to put it down. He was then shot three times.
Police are making a point to say Officer Lippert did not assert that he was shoved by Clemmons in his interview with investigators, which occurred before he saw the video.
A police official says there could still be a justifiable reason to initiate a chase, even after a low-level traffic violation, citing the uptick in crime in the area. Police have also said Lippert did not know Clemmons, even though he had a lengthy record. Police say the officer simply was approaching a driver who had just run a stop sign.
In Response To Police Investigation
More than 100 people gathered near Cayce Homes Tuesday night, down the street from where the shooting happened. Police cars blocked traffic with their lights on, to make way for marchers on their way to Nashville’s city hall.
Jessica Stubblefield, who held one end of a long Black Lives Matter banner, said she wants to see the officer in custody, not working on administrative assignment. “If I had pulled the trigger, if you had pulled the trigger, you would be under arrest right now,” she said. “I watched the video, and there’s no reason that it should have escalated to the point that it did.”
Stubblefield said she never distrusted the police before but now feels tense in the neighborhood.
Nathan Dryden, who lives in southeast Nashville, said he thinks this investigation comes at a time when the police were already seeming out of touch. When presented with a report last month showing that officers disproportionately stop black drivers, the department offered no direct rebuttal or reforms.
“This coming so soon after that makes people understandably a bit uneasy about how an investigation like that would proceed,” he said.
Yesterday the Nashville district attorney called the police department’s investigation into the shooting “expedient and transparent.” In a statement, he said his office will review the work and make the final report public.