Mother of Jocques Clemmons reacts to police body camera delay

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Sheila Clemmons-Lee wants body cameras for all Metro-Nashville Police officers.

“They need to have them,” said Clemmons-Lee. “It’s vital.”

“The officers need to have these body cameras not only to protect themselves but to also protect the ones that they’re chasing.”

It’s a cause she’s been fighting for since 2017.

“It’s time for accountability,” the mother said.

Her son Jocques Clemmons was shot and killed by a Metro police officer after a traffic stop and confrontation. Police said Clemmons had a gun.

“The body camera would’ve told Jocques’ story,” she said.

The cameras, which were supposed to be out this fall, have been delayed again.

Police and other leaders blame the city’s $40 million budget shortage.

“We take one step forward, something comes along and knocks up backward,” Clemmons-Lee said.

Metro council first approved the cameras in July 2017.

Last week, spokesperson for MNPD Don Aaron sent this statement to News 2:

“In light of the Comptroller’s report on Nashville’s financial condition, and in consultation with the Mayor’s Office, the police department has not yet placed an order for camera equipment in light of the downstream financial impact a camera program would have on other agencies, including the District Attorney’s Office, Criminal Court Clerk, Public Defender’s Office, and Davidson County’s courts (recall the briefing session held by the District Attorney who cited his need to add significant staff to support a new camera program). The first order was to have been placed this week. In the meantime, work continues on the electronic infrastructure to support body-worn and in-car camera systems. That infrastructure includes servers to store video and equipment to allow wireless video uploads from police vehicles in precinct parking lots.”

In October, a consultant for the District Attorney’s office said staffing to handle all of the video could run over $30 million a year.

Clemmons-Lee says she’s skeptical.

“Here we go again,” Clemmons-Lee said. “They don’t want transparency or accountability.”

“But, I’m not giving up.”

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