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No charges in deadly police shooting: Breaking down self defense law

(MNPD)

The District Attorney's Office said a Metro Officer shot and killed Jocques Clemmons in self defense, which warrants no criminal charges for the officer.

Three bullets hit Jocques Clemmons near the Cayce Public Housing complex the afternoon of Feb. 10.

Those bullets from the gun of Metro Police Officer Josh Lippert hit Clemmons once in the hip and twice in the back.

On Thursday, the district attorney's office told reporters one bullet went through Clemmons right lung. Another fractured his spine.

"It's just flat out wrong," said Artt Horne, of East Nashville. He believes that should warrant criminal charges.

"The man was shot in the back so there wasn't any confrontation with the police officer," Horne said. "This man was trying to flee and go on about his business."

The investigation reveals Clemmons had a gun, which he dropped during the foot chase. He then picked it up, but District Attorney Glenn Funk said Clemmons never drew on Lippert.

"Jocques Clemmons never verbally threatened officer Lippert," Funk said. "He never struck officer Lippert. He never stopped and directly aimed his handgun at officer Lippert."

But there is an instant, as Clemmons turned to run, that the gun pointed in Lippert's direction.

In Tennessee, a person who is in a place they have a right to be and not engaged in unlawful activity, may rely on the law of self defense, Deputy DA Roger Moore told reporters Thursday.

The person using deadly force also must reasonably believe there is an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury, Moore said.

"And [if] that belief was based on reasonable grounds, the killing of another would not be unlawful," Moore said.

The DA's office said the shooting is legally justified because Clemmons re-armed himself by picking up the gun, and that for a moment that gun pointed at Lippert

"He had a gun in his hand," Funk said. "He picked it up in the middle of an altercation. Had he kept running, if this was an unarmed person that was shot in the back, it would be a completely different situation."

The investigation also revealed when Lippert first confronted Clemmons, he initially drew his Taser and only drew his firearm after seeing Clemmons' gun fall to the ground.

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