NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A rally was held Tuesday to demand justice for the man shot and killed by a Metro police officer nearly two weeks ago.
Supporters of Jocques Clemmons gathered at Legislative Plaza in downtown Nashville at 5:30 p.m. before marching over to city hall to the Metro Council meeting.
Once inside, the group chanted “Justice for Jocques” at the back of the room before a security guard told them they were disrupting the meeting and requested they leave, saying they could peacefully demonstrate outside. The guard said he wasn’t going to arrest them, though, so the group began chanting once again.
That’s when several council members addressed the group. Rep. Sam Coleman stepped up first, saying, “I think you got a valid point, and I think you make all the sense in the world, but cooperation is key.”
“And I can tell you that we’ll listen. We will hear you loud and strong. Now what we ask for is some consideration for what we’re doing here tonight… and this entire body has heard everything you’ve said, so if we work together, I promise you we’ll come to a solution,” Rep Coleman continued.
The group talked back and forth with Coleman for some time before they chanted again and council members convened to talk. Rep. Karen Johnson then approached the protesters and said she was going to motion for them to get 20 minutes at the end of the meeting to speak.
That motion was approved unanimously by the council members and the floor was in fact opened up to the protesters, who were able to speak their minds and discuss the demands they have of Nashville’s mayor.
At one point, a black man dressed in a clergy collar said it was “really unfortunate that we have a [racial slur] like Councilman Hastings who would sell out his own black community just for a spot on somebody’s new channel. This is your doing, Councilman Hastings. This is your anti-blackness at work.”
Vice Mayor David Briley later addressed the comments, saying Rep. DeCosta Hastings may have faults but whatever they are he doesn’t deserve to be insulted like that.
“I hope that on behalf of the city of Nashville, he will accept my apology,” Briley added.
Aja Tate, Clemmons’ sister, also stood up and spoke through tears.
“Y’all can’t fire a man for cold-blooded murder in broad daylight, I do not understand that, but that’s all I got to say because when y’all figure it out, then maybe I’ll know the answer. Cold blooded murder. Y’all remember that,” she said to council members.
The event was held to demand justice in the case after Clemmons, a black man who was shot and killed by a white police officer. The officer reported he saw a weapon that later fell on the ground before Clemmons grabbed it.
“This is not a problem that is limited to any neighborhood,” said Theeda Murphy. “Anybody that has a black body in Nashville is in danger of being assaulted or unfairly profiled by the police that’s supposed to protect and serve them.”
The group also has a list of things they are demanding from Mayor Megan Barry, which includes calling for body cameras and releasing the police report on Clemmons’ death. They are also asking the protocol for firing police officers be made public.