Local Activists Hold Press Conference Expressing Distrust Of MNPD

Posted at 7:10 PM, Mar 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-09 11:53:24-05

Local African American pastors and activists held a press conference in response to actions by the Metro Nashville Police Department in the death investigation of Jocques Clemmons.

A group of pastors met with police officials Tuesday night to give an update in the investigations. Officials with the department said they were invited by they pastors to answer questions.

They said during that 3-hour meeting, officers shared pertinent information in the ongoing case, and led them frame-by-frame through all of the surveillance video from the case.

"The police department yesterday was requested by a group of ministers to give an update in regards to what we knew about the officer involved shooting. As part of the update, we gave to the ministers, we used still frames from the surveillance video which was released the same day as the shooting happened," said Don Aaron, spokesman for the department.

Yet, the group of pastors believed the department overstepped their bounds, since the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation took over the case. 

"We find that that was improper and to coin his own phrase, it was 'morally disingenuous'; where if there was information the police dept. felt that they were ready to give out, all of the stakeholders, including Clemmons' family should have been present," said Davie Tucker, pastor of Beech Creek Missionary Baptist Church.

He referenced comments Chief Anderson made Tuesday in response to a report by the activist group, Gideon's Army, accusing the department of racial profiling.

The group implied that the report, "Driving While Black," and Tuesday's meeting have impacted the department's ability to properly investigate Clemmons' death.

"We do not have confidence in the Metropolitan Police Department or its chief to do an adequate investigation," said a local pastor. 

A leader of the Justice for Jocques Coalition, D.J. Hudson, said she and others did not said she and others did not appreciate the Chief's response to the report.

"Not only to not hear the core assertion which is that that there is a problem here in Nashville but to then assert that there is not problem and that the people identifying the problem are lying shows a severe breech in this narrative that he's trying to paint that all is cozy and all is well in Nashville," said Hudson.

The group at the press conference included pastors from local churches, Nashville Black Lives Matter leaders and members of the Justice for Jocques Coalition.