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DA addresses 'systematic problems' with new initiatives after Jocques Clemmons shooting

(WZTV)

The Nashville District Attorney’s Office announced new initiatives to improve ties with the community that have stemmed from the Jocques Clemmons shooting investigation.

On Thursday, DA Glenn Funk confirmed that Officer Joshua Lippert will not be facing criminal charges in the deadly Feb. 10 shooting near Cayce Homes.

Funk said during a news conference that all law enforcement, including the DA’S office, must take steps to increase fairness. He assured Nashvillians that no bias was in the investigation and review.

The first initiative is asking courts to not hold citizens in jail while their cases are pending in court if they’re charged with a misdemeanor, with some exceptions.

The second initiative is a conviction review unit.

A conviction review unit establishes the process where the DA’s office will be taking a second look at cases and make sure there is no one who has been unjustly convicted is in a penitentiary. If someone has proof of actual innocence, they can bring it to the DA’s office for review. The office will determine from there if a new investigation has to take place, and if founded, will assist in making sure the conviction is vacated.

“With these steps at both the beginning of the process and end of the process, we are trying to take concrete steps to make the citizens of Nashville know that we are committed to fairness,” Funk said.

Funk continued to say that his office is open to discussions to anyone who has ideas about whether its policies and practices aren’t fair.

In addition to the two initiatives, Funk is recommending to have the following conversations with Mayor Barry and the Metro Nashville Police Department:

  • Joint study to review potential issues presented in the Driving While Black report.
  • Determine what root causes are in the DWB report and eliminate those
  • Formal review for anytime an officer draws their weapon, whether it’s fired or not
  • Policies to encourage further intentional recruitment of minority personnel in the police department
  • Funding for the justice restorative program in juvenile court where suspects can avoid detention for some specific, agreed upon charges.

“With these steps we hope that as we move forward together as a city we will end up with a justice system that is more fair to everyone,” Funk said. “At the end of the day, we want the citizens of Nashville to be safe and for our police officers to be safe.”

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry agreed said this has been a challenging time for the city.

"There are some in our community who are fearful or distrustful of police -- we still have work to do,” Barry said.

Barry agreed with others at the news conference that there are systematic problems in the criminal justice system that need to be addressed.

“That is where we should begin to look at reform,” Barry said. "General Funk’s decision not to bring criminal charges against Officer Lippert does not close or end those conversations. We must endeavor to ensure that all voices and opinions are heard regarding the laws and policies that govern us all."

Members of the clergy spoke saying there were “no winners” in the situation. They also expressed disappointment in the TBI findings and the DA’s decision.

The pastors said that this isn’t confined to one incident, but the issue is one of culture.


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