Nashville mayor calls for stop of 'war of words' between police department, DA's office
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has called for a stop of the "war of words" the Metro Nashville Police Department and the District Attorney's Office has recently been engaged in.
"They need to communicate more and they need to cooperate more," Barry said.
Last Thursday, DA Glenn Funk announced that Officer Josh Lippert would not be facing criminal charges in the deadly February shooting of Jocques Clemmons.
During that news conference, Funk's office questioned the methodology and terminology allegedly used the the MNPD during the Clemmons shooting investigation. Barry said the DA's concerns were not germane to the office's overall decision not to indict Lippert. Barry suggested it would have been beneficial if the DA's office sat down with MNPD and discussed those concerns in advance of the news conference.
Following the news conference, MNPD Chief Steve Anderson issued a scathing letter toward Deputy DA Amy Hunter, who had been assigned by Funk to deliver that portion of the report.
"It was inappropriate of Chief Anderson to do that, and I have told him that," Barry said.
Barry then apologized to Hunter on behalf of Metro Nashville, saying Anderson's concerns should have been directed at the mayor. Barry directed any correspondence of that nature to be directed toward her in the future.
Ahead of Funk's Thursday press conference, the Metro Nashville Police Department's Office of Professional Accountability released a document suggesting that Lippert be exonerated.
Barry is proposing "critical" next steps that need to be taken, which she said need to be done together.
- Metro Nashville Police Department's Office of Professional Accountability should refrain from issuing any reports or recommendations on an officer-involved use of force until any criminal investigation into the officer's action is closed,
- MNPD and DA's Office will work together on a join training program to create a better understanding of policies and procedures on both sides
- MNPD will review and adopt any best practices from TBI's Internal Standard Operating Procedure Manual for any use of force investigations
- Ensure community trust
There may also have to be amendments or revision to the previously issued "Memorandum of Understanding" in officer involved shootings, Barry said.
"Public safety is the foundational role of government, it is quite literally the most important thing that we do to make sure that our citizens are safe," Barry said. "I believe that every Nashvillian deserves to live in a safe community. I believe that every Nashvillian deserves to feel safe in his or her community, regardless of their economic status, their skin color or what country he or she may have come from."