The complete investigation file on the fatal shooting of a black man by a white metro police officer was released today. Among the 615 pages of material, is concern over how the man’s gun was handled at the scene and a single witness who claims the officer used a racial slur just moments after the shooting.
One witness told the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation he heard Officer Joshua Lippert use a racial slur against Jocques Clemmons, but in cell phone videos and in interviews with other witnesses, no one else said they heard the word.
Also noted in the file, is the TBI’s concern with the handling of Clemmons’ gun. Lippert says he saw Clemmons pull a revolver and after shooting Clemmons three times, Lippert took the gun and put it in his pocket. He says he then took it to an unmarked police car and placed it in the floorboard of the front passenger seat, where it was later photographed. However, one responding officer contradicts this, saying Lippert handed the gun to another officer, who placed it in the vehicle.
In its investigation the TBI says there wasn’t enough documentation on the location and position of the gun at the crime scene.
A supplemental report filed by Metro Police shows difficulty confirming just how Clemmons obtained the Ruger handgun. Upon contacting the registered owner, the police were informed that the gun had been stolen from her possession in 2001. A week later, she contacted Metro Police again, saying had she searched her home and discovered it was in fact her “replacement weapon” that was missing. She claims the last time she saw the gun was around 2015.
Swabs of the tip of the gun’s barrel show the DNA of three individuals according to a forensic biology report. It also says that due to “the complexity of the DNA”, no comparison would be performed.
An earlier report also stated there were no identifiable latent fingerprints on the gun that could be attributed to Clemmons.
The passenger in Clemmons’ car, who then fled the scene, told the TBI that he didn’t see Clemmons have a gun that day, and that he was not known to be armed.
The much-anticipated file was released today by District Attorney Glenn Funk after being unsealed by a Davidson County judge.
Last month Funk announced he was not going to prosecute Officer Lippert. However, Lippert could still face discipline from the department. The Metro Police Department is conducting an administrative review to determine whether Lippert should face any discipline, which could include losing his job.