After a lengthy discussion, Metro Council Members approved a resolution asking for the immediate purchase of body cameras for officers at the Metro Police Department.
Almost every Metro Council Member spoke up during the discussion at Tuesday’s council meeting. There were strong opinions on both sides of the issue. The final vote was 30-5 in favor of the resolution.
The debate came after Jocques Clemmons was shot and killed on Feb. 10 by Metro Nashville Police officer Joshua Lippert.
The resolution requested the immediate purchase of at least 168 body cameras, and that funding for the body cameras be included in Mayor Megan Barry’s 2018 budget.
“I must remind you a man is dead in our community,” said Karen Johnson, a Metro Council Member who sponsored the resolution. “These cameras could lead to a different result.
Supporters argued the resolution is a step that will help keep officers and residents safe and that it answers concerns many in the community have expressed in the aftermath of Clemmons’ shooting.
However, opponents said the resolution was non-binding and doesn’t require action, and that it was a quick response to a very complicated issue.
“If we’re going to be serious, let’s be serious about this,” said Council Member Steve Glover. “Let’s do it in a manner that accomplishes something as opposed to being window dressing.”
“Stop saying it doesn’t make a difference,” said Council Member Erica Gilmore. “The community says it makes a difference. I say, as a person of color, it makes a difference.”
“I want for all of us to take a pause and wait for the result of this investigation before we move further,” said Council Member Russ Pulley.
In addition to the Metro Council vote, Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson will unveil a body camera proposal at a budget hearing with Mayor Megan Barry next week.
The TBI is still investigating the circumstances surrounding Clemmons’ death.