FERRIER FILES: Nashville U.S. Attn. looks to curb violent officer-citizen confrontations
NASHVILLE, Tenn. —
A Nashville man was indicted Tuesday for ramming a Metro Nashville Police officer's car and struggling with police while he had a loaded weapon last month.
It's the latest example of no tolerance by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Metro Police Officer John Daughtery responded to a hit-and-run at Mercury Court Apartments April 12. Upon coming into contact with police, Joe Williams Jr, the suspect, rams into his squad car and drove away from the scene.
Officer Corey Hale caught up with Williams, and the two began wrestling in a breezeway. Williams had a pistol in his pants during the struggle. He was arrested after tense moments but no shots fired.
Williams is a convicted carjacker and drug dealer, a convicted felon. That opens a door to federal prosecution.
U.S Attorney Jack Smith said he hopes this kind of prosecution can prevent the kind of feelings that divide the community when these confrontations end in death.
“When people don't comply with law enforcement, that's when things can happen that everyone reacts afterwards," Smith said. "I think people ramming into police cars...I think the public wants us to bring that case. and that's what we are going to do."
Nashville's DA recently decided not to charge an officer who shot and killed Jocques Clemmons in February. The DA's office concluded that Clemmons, a convicted felon, was armed and Officer Josh Lippert acted in self-defense.
Clemmons' death and the later decisions have damaged relationships in the community.
Tension between some of those groups rose enough to prompt Nashville Mayor Megan Barry to mediate between the DA and police.
Smith is committed to prosecuting criminals who attack police officers. He said he personally sits down with any officer who is attacked in the line of duty.
Last month, he sat down with MNPD Officers Justin Chisolm and Jonathan Shepherd, before indicting Antonio Bender for taking a shots at them in J.C. Napier homes in downtown Nashville.
Both Williams and Bender will face an extra 10 years in jail based on Smith's recommendations.
“The federal time is much more certain," Smith said. "There is no early release. No Parole. No time off for good behavior. They won’t be at a local jail. It can really be a deterrent."
This is Smith's message of zero tolerance for people who attack police officers with the hope of reducing these dangerous confrontations.