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Nashville Cop Charged With Criminal Homicide for Shooting Man in the Back as He Fled

This might be the first time a Nashville police officer has been charged for an on-duty shooting.

Metro Nashville Police DepartmentMetro Nashville Police DepartmentA white Nashville police officer, accused of fatally shooting a black man in the back as he fled, was charged yesterday with criminal homicide.

Daniel Hambrick, 25, sustained three gunshot wounds on July 26: two in his back and one in the back of his head. His alleged killer, Metropolitan Nashville Police Officer Andrew Delke, turned himself in to the authorities yesterday before being released on $25,000 bond. At first, Night Court Magistrate Evan Harris said there wasn't evidence to charge him. But Judge Michael Mondelli of the local General Sessions Court eventually signed off on the criminal charge.

Hambrick's death has renewed the debate over police culpability in controversial, officer-involved fatal shootings. Nationally, it's rare for such officers to face criminal charges. In the Nashville area, particularly when the officers in question were on duty, it's almost unheard of.

Delke's arrest warrant describes what happened in the lead-up to the shooting. Delke, a member of a stolen vehicles task force, was on patrol when he encountered a Chevrolet Impala at an intersection. Both Delke and the Impala had stopped at stop signs, but the Impala "conceded the right of way by not pulling in front of him," the warrant says.

This made Delke "suspicious," and when the Impala eventually continued on its way, the warrant says he "followed behind it." Delke ran the Impala's license plate and discovered it was not stolen. "Nevertheless, because Officer Delke understood that part of the Task Force directive was to make traffic stops, he continued to follow to see if he could develop a reason to stop the Impala," according to the warrant.

Delke continued following the car, and at one point turned on his police lights. The Impala didn't pull over, so he turned his lights off and kept following it "from a distance" until he "lost track" of the car," the warrant says. He drove around searching for it, and eventually found a different four-door sedan that he "mistook" for the Impala. Delke pulled up near the car, at which point one of the "individuals in the area," Hambrick, started to run away. Police have previously said Hambrick was in the car before he started running.

According to the arrest warrant, Delke chased Hambrick. As they were running, Delke "saw a gun in Mr. Hambrick's hand" and told him to "drop the gun," warning he would shoot if Hambrick did not comply. Delke "decided to use deadly force" when Hambrick appeared not to listen.

Surveillance video from a nearby school shows Hambrick being shot. It appears the officer stopped for a moment, then fired while Hambrick was still running:

Delke was not wearing a body camera, and there was no dash camera on his vehicle. Last year, the Nashville Metro Council set aside $15 million for all officers to receive body cameras, though Councilman Steve Glover says this would actually cost $50 million. Just 20 Nashville cops currently wear body cameras.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Delke was reassigned to a desk job. He has since been decommissioned, meaning he's still getting paid but is effectively suspended from the force. He's due in court October 30, and his attorney, David Raybin, says he plans to plead not guilty.

Delke's case may be unique for the Nashville area. The New York Times reports that neither Delke's attorney nor a spokesman for the prosecutor's office could "recall any other case in which a Nashville police officer had been charged with such a crime for an act that happened while on duty." The Nashville Tennessean agrees: "no Nashville police officer in recent memory has been charged after shooting someone while they were on duty."

Nashville isn't alone. Since 2015, at least 3,677 cops across the country have shot people fatally. Since 2005, fewer than 100 have faced criminal charges. Only 32 have actually been convicted, with roughly half of those convictions resulting from guilty pleas.

Photo Credit: Metro Nashville Police Department

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  • ||

    His alleged killer

    Is there a question of whether he killed him or whether he committed murder? Because it seems like he's *the* shooter, the man who killed him, or an alleged murderer not an alleged killer.

  • ThomasD||

    Could have been some random bullets passing through the neighborhood at that very moment.

    What?

    It's credible.

  • Kivlor||

    Nashville isn't alone. Since 2015, at least 3,677 cops across the country have shot people fatally. Since 2005, fewer than 100 have faced criminal charges. Only 32 have actually been convicted

    This doesn't really say anything about whether these were justified slayings, or if they were unjust.

  • JonFrum||

    It doesn't claim to say anything about justification. But you can ask yourself, as a reasonably intelligent person, is 100 out of 3677 a likely number? No one is going to jail on your opinion, it's just a start.

  • CGN||

    Well, as usual, the cops did wrong. One DOES NOT shoot another human being unless he or others are in danger of harm by the perp, which was NOT the case here. The presumed bad guy had a gun, but he was not shooting at the cop nor anyone else, and having a (presumably) unregistered pistol is NOT a capital offense, that is, one that police can freely use deadly force to stop. If the "crook" had pointed his gun at the office or some other person, then the cop would have the right to shoot to end the chance for harm to himself or others. Given the facts here, the cop should be on trial for manslaughter at least, if not murder.

  • Cy||

    I hate how our legal system openly ignores the 2nd amendment. Every citizen of the US has the right to bear arms on US soil. That right includes not being shot by the government while doing so.

  • AlgerHiss||

    American copping, regardless of that huge US flag they wear on their costume, has nothing but contempt for a citizen being able to carry around the same level of deadly force they do. They will do everything they can to hassle, pester and humiliate a citizen that happens to be armed.

  • Delius||

    Delke says he had a gun. I don't see anything that proves he did.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    That's assuming the guy really did have a gun. FWIW, the first hyperlink does include a statement from a police accountability group in Nashville that says he was unarmed while the second link includes a statement from the local FoP president saying he was armed and that "Delke had to make an 'absolutely necessary and reasonable' decision to fire if he believed Hambrick was in a position to shoot him." Go figure, FoP basically says the cop is a Big Damn Hero in Blue, what a shock. Although how a person running away could possibly be in a position to shoot the person chasing them from behind is another question. Obviously, one of these two are either lying or misinformed.

    You can't tell from the surveillance video, and claiming that a suspect was armed is usually SOP for anytime a cop shoots someone. Also, cops carrying a "drop gun" isn't unheard of, and since there's no body camera footage all we have to go on is the cops word that the guy was armed. Which means that he'll probably walk since juries seem to have a habit of taking every word a cop says as gospel truth.

  • ThomasD||

    Yeah, I couldn't see any gun, but the video quality was lacking.

    Some jurisdictions have fleeing felon laws that permit use of deadly force. My guess is this one doesn't.

    Absent any other information this sure seems like a criminal act by the shooter.

  • Cyto||

    He had zero evidence or even any reason to suspect that he was a felon, other than the fact that he was fleeing.

    So it shouldn't surprise anyone that he was charged.

    Well, it shouldn't in anything resembling a just society. But then, here we are.

  • AlgerHiss||

    "...and having a (presumably) unregistered pistol is NOT a capital offense..."

    Registered? Registered where? Must firearms be registered in Tennessee?

  • Kazinski||

    Unregistered pistol? Of course it was. All pistols in Tennessee are unregistered.

    There are only 6 states that have gun registration.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Delke, a member of a stolen vehicles task force, was on patrol when he encountered a Chevrolet Impala at an intersection. Both Delke and the Impala had stopped at stop signs, but the Impala "conceded the right of way by not pulling in front of him," the warrant says.

    This made Delke "suspicious," and when the Impala eventually continued on its way, the warrant says he "followed behind it." Delke ran the Impala's license plate and discovered it was not stolen. "Nevertheless, because Officer Delke understood that part of the Task Force directive was to make traffic stops, he continued to follow to see if he could develop a reason to stop the Impala," according to the warrant.

    Seems like the stolen car task force has a lot of spare time on its hands.

    And I've always let cop cars go first at intersections; I don't want them following me, and I don't want to give them such an easy flimsy excuse to pull me over.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    and I don't want to give them such an easy flimsy excuse to pull me over.

    Or shoot you in the back. Be glad you don't live next door to these people. Yeah, I said "these people".

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I've always let cop cars go first at intersections; I don't want them following me, and I don't want to give them such an easy flimsy excuse to pull me over.

    If you go in front of them, that could be used as an excuse to pull you over. If you concede the right of way and let them go first, that could be used as an excuse to pull you over. Classic "heads they win shoot you in the back, tails you lose get shot in the back" scenario.

  • JonFrum||

    People have been pissing me off all my driving life by being 'polite' and not taking the right of way when they have it - this just causes confusion, and ends up making me spend more time in the intersection. I might have thought about kicking them in the gonads, but not shooting them in the back.

  • Rossami||

    So according to the cop, being polite while driving is "suspicious". And according to the cop, even though he had exactly zero evidence of wrong-doing, he thought it was his job to follow someone around until he found an excuse.

    Finally, this cop (and apparently, all his peers and supervisors) thought that they were allowed to use deadly force even though the subject was running away and posed no current threat to any officer or bystander.

    And cops wonder why nobody trusts them anymore...

  • ThomasD||

    My suspicion is the cop was thinking ahead to the point when he caught up with the runner (who was more of a jogger, or slow trot) and realized he didn't want to get into a wrestling match. So rather than wait for backup he decides it's easier and safer to shoot him in the back.

  • Cyto||

    4,000 comments on 12 articles about Brett Kavanaugh's teenage drinking habits.

    And 15 comments and one article about a police officer following a car with the intent of manufacturing an excuse for a traffic stop, then mistakenly pulling up to a different car and shooting someone in the back who ran away, with no other reason for using force that "he ran away".

    Reason, you may be dead. Hard to tell for sure, but the Reason of old is at least on life support. The Balko era may have been the last hurrah before the slow decline into ... whatever this mess is leading to.

  • AlgerHiss||

    Yes.....this ^^^.

    It is disgusting that your average mopey/meatsack citizen can't find any outrage in a story like this.

    This 25 year old punk/thug AWG (armed government worker) is not an exception to the rule: He's as common as they come. He was out there manufacturing phony reasonable suspicion/probable cause and he was going to find some trouble no matter what. This stuff happens everyday, all over this country to EVERYONE regardless of their precious skin color.

    American copping is completely out of control. You will trust these people at your peril ESPECIALLY if you've done nothing wrong.

  • AlgerHiss||

    At minimum, Delke now has an arrest record. Even if all charges are dropped, or he's found not guilty in a trial, that arrest record will follow him for the remainder of his life.

  • majil||

    Who cares when a Cop is shot in the face ?
    Not me

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