By NIARA SAVAGE | Nashville Voice
On Monday, the case involving the Metro Nashville Police Officer who fatally shot 25-year-old Daniel Hambrick as he fled, intensified.
General Sessions Judge Melissa Blackburn decided that there is “sufficient proof,” to find probable cause that officer Andrew Delke did in fact commit criminal homicide when he used lethal force against Daniel Hambrick. The case will now be sent to a grand jury.
In the aftermath of the ruling, Delke’s defense attorney David Raybin publicly and angrily responded to the judge’s decision.
Not only did Raybin continue to thoroughly defend his client’s decision to shoot Hambrick despite the judge’s stern disapproval of this action, but Raybin also responded with fury to DA Glenn Funk’s comparison of Delke’s defense to that of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg.
“The District Attorney has functionally declared war on our police,” Raybin proclaimed. He then proceeded to allude once again to the fact that all Metro Nashville Police are “trained in an identical fashion,” as though this statement acts as a defense of the police, rather than as a worrisome indication of systemic problem within the force.
When questioned about the severity of the language ‘declaration of war,’ Raybin indignantly replied, “That’s what I said…” Without ever making reference to the devastating loss of Daniel Hambrick’s life, Raybin firmly asserted, “Let me be clear. Nashville police officers are not Nazis.”
In the ruling, Blackburn was sure to state the fact that officer Delke not only had no knowledge of Hambrick’s criminal history, but had also not observed Hambrick committing any crime.
Blackburn also made it clear that although Hambricks’ decision to run may be considered suspicious, fleeing from the officer was not a crime, nor does it “justify the use of lethal force.”
She added that using lethal force against a fleeing person thought to be guilty of no more than a misdemeanor violates the Constitutional Rights of the “person in flight.”
The judge also criticized the defense’s heavy reliance of the claim that Hambrick turned and fired his weapon as he fled, is there is no video evidence of this action occurring. Blackburn also knocked the defense’s claims and “conjecture,” stating that “in Tennessee, evidence that a fact is possible is no evidence at all.”
Supporters have said that Blackburn made the right ruling for the City of Nashville, as her decision to send the case to a grand jury counts as one step closer to justice to all parties involved—Delke will undergo a fair trial and the Hambrick family will have their day is court.