NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville’s district attorney reversed a policy Thursday and announced that state agents will investigate all future fatal police shootings in Davidson County after authorities said a white police officer there fatally shot an armed African-American man in the back.
Police this week revised their account of the shooting of 31-year-old Jocques Scott Clemmons after obtaining new surveillance video. Police initially believed that Clemmons charged at Officer Josh Lippert and made full contact with him after a traffic stop Friday, but later said the additional footage showed Clemmons stopped short of Lippert, turned around and ran in the opposite direction.
Lippert pursued Clemmons, police said, and the suspect refused to drop a loaded pistol before the officer fired at him.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and FBI are investigating.
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DA Glenn Funk told The Tennessean that the “police department is well trained and professional.”
“The investigations performed by the department are expedient and transparent. However, best practices from around the country require that these investigations must also be independent,” he said.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry applauded Funk’s decision.
Police will continue to investigate non-fatal shootings on a case-by-case basis.
The new video came amid outcry from Clemmons’ family and supporters who have questioned the police department’s version of events. Protesters on Tuesday marched down to city hall behind Black Lives Matter banners. Some of them have demanded that the officer be fired.
Lippert is currently on administrative leave pending an investigation.
An attorney for Lippert said it didn’t matter who was investigating.
“We’re confident that they’ll do a good job and will find that my client acted appropriately under the circumstances that confronted him,” said lawyer John M.L. Brown.
Protesters and civil rights activists have called on the city to move quickly to implement plans to equip Nashville police with body cameras. Mayor Barry plans to ask for $12 million for the cameras in the 2017-2018 budget.