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Mother of Jocques Clemmons enraged over George Floyd death

Posted at 5:42 PM, Jun 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-03 19:49:14-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville may be gearing up for another rally to demand change on Thursday, but one mother said it's been her ongoing mission since her son died a few years ago.

Jocques Clemmons was killed by a Metro Nashville Police officer in 2017. His mother Sheila Clemmons Lee said George Floyd's death in Minneapolis last week has become a searing reminder.

"Every time a police officer does this it, sends rage up in me because this is my son you’re killing all over again," Sheila told NewsChannel 5. "People are not calm. They’re tired of being calm and I’m tired of being calm."

Sheila joined thousands of other people at Legislative Plaza on Saturday for the "I Will Breathe" rally. She didn't join the march and other activities afterwards because she didn't feel it was appropriate. For safety, she opted out because of how outspoken she's been against Chief Steve Anderson.

"I don’t condone what happened because we speak against violence. We’re not about violence and we’re not about destruction but at the same time, as a black woman whose black son has been murdered, I understand it and I get it," Sheila said.

In 2017, Officer Josh Lippert killed Jocques after shooting him in the back during a foot chase. Metro police said he fired after Jocques refused orders to drop the gun he picked up when it fell out of his waistband.

However, many in the community pushed back and questioned the use of deadly force. Jocques' death would lay the foundation to create a police oversight board and sparked public outcry over the lack of police body cameras.

Sheila said not much changed though since her son died. She and other advocates continue to support the family of Daniel Hambrick, who is a black man shot and killed by Officer Andrew Delke as he was seen on surveillance camera running away him.

A memorial near Watkins Park remains as family and friends celebrated Hambrick's recent birthday.

Advocates like Clemmie Greenlee of Mothers Over Murder urged members of the black community to be aware of legislation and vote to create a shakeup in leadership.

"Go vote and vote these people out of here," Greenlee said. "We need everybody in our community to come together. Don't be afraid to call it what it is, a spade is a spade. The system is corrupted and its been corrupted."

Lippert never faced any charges and resigned last year. Meanwhile, Delke's murder trial has been postponed to at least Fall this year.