NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation wishes to withdraw from the Jocques Clemmons shooting investigation.
In fact, the agency doesn’t want to be part of any future shootings involving Metro police officers.
The TBI was asked to do an independent investigation of the shooting by the DA’s office in the wake of Clemmons’ death at the hands of a Metro police officer.
However, the Metro Nashville Police Department has been conducting their own internal investigation since the incident took place on Feb. 10.
On Friday, News 2 obtained emails sent between the TBI, the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office, and Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson through an open records request.
In one email dated 12 days after Clemmons died, the TBI told the DA’s office, “It will be impossible for the TBI to conduct an independent investigation while another agency simultaneously conducts the same investigation, potentially interviewing and creating multiple statements from the same witnesses, which is contrary to the standard practices of investigations.”
In response, DA Glenn Funk said he understands the police department’s current practices preclude the TBI “from conducting any independent investigations into incidents of fatal use of force by MNPD officers.” Funk then requested the TBI let him know of successful protocols between the bureau of investigation and law enforcement agencies in similar size and scope of Metro police.
The TBI shared with Funk their protocols set in place with the Memphis Police Department which outline all fatal use of force cases be investigated solely by the TBI and police will cease all investigations the moment the bureau takes over.
That information was shared with Metro Chief of Police Steve Anderson who said Memphis “is a different city with different issues.”
“I would not find that agreement an acceptable template on which to initiate our discussions,” Chief Anderson continued, saying he believes they can “work out procedures, suitable for all, for parallel, but separate, investigations.”
The chief later sent a draft version of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the three agencies, ultimately removing a portion the TBI said would make their investigations “joint” as opposed to “independent.”
In the same email regarding the removal of that portion of the MOU, Chief Anderson says, “I cannot look the other way or turn a blind eye when something of this magnitude occurs in Nashville.”
As of Friday, Metro police and the TBI remain at an impasse.
News 2 reached out to all three agencies for comment.
Chief Anderson said, “This investigation is pretty much concluded, if you’re talking about the Clemmons investigation. It’s concluded by our department. We’re holding that until the TBI turns their findings over to the district attorney and then we’ll make ours available.”
The TBI said it isn’t giving interviews and didn’t have any other comments to give.
DA Funk issued a short statement that says, “On Wednesday morning I met with the mayor, Chief Anderson and the TBI Director in an effort to establish an MOU providing for independent investigations by the TBI on any future officer involved shootings. I hope we will be able to reach an agreement.”
And as for the officer who shot Clemmons, Joshua Lippert, he remains on administrative duty.