Nashville FOP says officer involved in Hambrick shooting “acted reasonably,” claims DA searched “desperately” to get arrest warrant signed

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By Niara Savage

In early August, immediately following the release of the video footage depicting the killing of Daniel Hambrick at the hands of Officer Andrew Delke, the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police defended the acts of the officer.

James Smallwood, the president of the FOP justified the officer’s actions, and placed blame on  Hambrick, stating that he is “confident that Mr. Hambrick would be alive,” had he followed the officer’s commands.

Smallwood also stated that Delke “acted reasonably” in using deadly force, because Hambrick could have “twisted his body around,” or “reached across his body,” to fire a weapon.

Importantly, the video of the shooting does not depict Hambrick taking aim at the officer, but instead depicts Hambrick fleeing, while Officer Deleke pursues him.

When charges of criminal homicide were brought against Officer Delke in late September, the FOP released another statement, in which Smallwood criticized the release of the video depicting the shooting of Daniel Hambrick. Smallwood claimed that the video was released out of context, and provided only “a partial narrative of events.”

According to Smallwood, a statement from the very officer charged who was charged with criminal homicide in the shooting, should have been released at the same time as the video in order to provide “enhanced transparency and essential context,” to the video.

Smallwood did not comment on the apparent conflict of interest Officer Delke may have faced, had he been responsible for providing context to the video of him shooting a man in the back.

Furthermore, Smallwood called the District Attorney’s decision to go before a 2nd judge to obtain a signed arrest warrant against Officer Delke a “desperate,” “politically inspired rush to judgement,”referring to the action as “judge shopping.”

Smallwood went on to call Hambrick a “convicted felon,” something Delke had no way of knowing at the time he pulled the trigger.

In addition, Smallwood called the charge against Delke, “a charge against all police officers,” before insinuating that bringing charges against police officers makes everyone “less safe.”

When the Nashville Voice reached out to the FOP, which continues to call officer Delke “an outstanding police officer with an excellent record,” we were directed to their lawyer.

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