Delke indicted for first-degree murder; attorney blames Nashville Police Department

Officer Andrew Delke listens during his preliminary hearing at the Justice A.A. Birch Building Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. Delke is charged with criminal homicide for the on-duty shooting of Daniel Hambrick. (George Walker IV / AP Pool / The Tennessean)

By NIARA SAVAGE | Nashville Voice

On Friday, Jan. 18, a grand jury in Nashville indicted Andrew Delke on first-degree murder charges for fatally shooting 25-year-old Daniel Hambrick as he fled.

The jury’s decision represents another step towards a criminal trial, but also a further escalation in the case involving the first Nashville officer ever criminally charged for an on-duty shooting. The case has also become another national symbol of police brutality in the black community.

Many are closely watching this case’s progress in anticipation of whether there is any set of facts, circumstances, or act of brutality that will lead to the conviction of an on-duty police officer.

History shows that it is rare for a white police officer to be indicted — and convicted — for the killing of a black citizen, regardless of the video evidence we have seen over and over again.

Notably, many officers involved in police brutality or fatality cases face reduced charges and typically do not get prosecuted under the first-degree charges Delke currently faces.  

Although this serious charge indicates that the grand jury believes the case deserves significant attention, it also suggests that the prosecutor’s job could be more difficult as he or she will be forced to prove without reasonable doubt that Delke committed first-degree murder.

David Raybin, Delke’s outspoken defense attorney, has said numerous times that his client “acted in accordance with his training” when he shot and killed Daniel Hambrick from behind.

Following Judge Melissa Blackburn’s decision to turn the case over to a grand jury, Raybin once again insisted that “Delke’s use of force was in full compliance with the training provided by our Nashville Police Department.”

According to Nashville Police, Hambrick had not committed any crimes when Andrew Delke — from 200 yards away — stooped to one knee and fired four shots at Hambrick who was fleeing, hitting him twice in the back and one time in the back of the head.

While Raybin stands by his argument that Delke’s actions were in adherence to the training of all Metro Police Officers, many in the community are concerned whether the Metro Nashville Police Department and its Chief of Police agree that Delke’s use of force was in full compliance with his training.

To that end, only an official representative of the Nashville Police Department can provide confirmation of such sentiment as well as proper clarify the department’s policies.

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