TBI takes over current, all future deadly officer-involved cases in Nashville

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The deadly officer-involved shooting involving a member of the Metro-Nashville Police Department is now being investigated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Nashville’s district attorney general Glenn Funk made the announcement Thursday alongside TBI Director Mark Gwyn.

The change was made as part of a Memorandum of Understanding between the law enforcement agencies regarding officer-involved shootings.

Until Thursday, the TBI investigated all officer-involved shootings in the state except for those in Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga. Metro police investigated its own.

From here on out, though, the TBI will investigate all Nashville cases where officer-related use of force cases results in death, and the district attorney will then make decisions on which charges, if any, are pressed.

DA Funk said best practices from throughout the country led to the decision.

Funk said Metro-Nashville police are well-trained and professional, and its investigators have great integrity. He noted their investigations are expedient and transparent.

“However, best practices from around the country require that these investigations must also be independent. Only independent investigations foster the community confidence required for public safety,” the district attorney said.

“The 2015 report of the president’s task force on 21st century policing recommended mandatory ‘external and independent criminal investigations in case of police use of force resulting in death,’” Funk continued, noting many jurisdictions require state law enforcement to investigate local law enforcement shootings.

TBI’s director first offered condolences to Jocques Clemmons’ family before saying he understands the current shooting “is a difficult situation.”

“As TBI embarks on this investigation, we would like to ask for the public’s patience,” Gwyn said, later adding, “We will start at the beginning. Due diligence requires that.”

Gwyn said they have yet to independently piece together the set of the events leading to Clemmons’ death, noting they may face some challenges coming into it six days later.

“However, in our ability to investigate this case with the integrity, openness and professionalism it demands, we understand that need for transparency,” he added, saying he and General Funk agree that key facts and details from the case file will be available to the public when the time comes.”

Police Chief Steve Anderson said he welcomes the involvement “by our partners at the state and federal level.”

He continued, “There is agreement across the board that a fair, timely and accountable investigation must take place. The TBI is welcome to any information gathered, as is the FBI and the United States Attorney, entities with which we have been engaging since Monday.”

Chief Anderson noted he has full confidence in his department’s team of investigators, and he believes it’s important the citizens of Nashville have “a full understanding of the circumstances involved in police-involved shooting incidents.”

“We will work to ensure that the public is kept informed of relevant detail as we work with the TBI moving forward,” he added.

Mayor Megan Barry also said she welcomes the TBI’s involvement while maintaining complete confidence in the Metro police department’s ability to fairly investigate these types of cases.

The mayor’s statement reads, in full:

The citizens of Nashville deserve an expedient, transparent and independent investigation into the shooting of Jocques Clemmons by Officer Joshua Lippert. Today, District Attorney General Glenn Funk announced his decision to ask the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to conduct an independent investigation into that shooting. While I have complete confidence in the MNPD’s ability to fairly, thoroughly, and quickly investigate an officer-involved shooting, I welcome General Funk’s decision to seek an independent investigation. I know that our Police Department will do everything in their power to assist the TBI going forward to ensure an expedient and thorough investigation,” the statement read.

Click here for more on the Jocques Clemmons case.

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