Family of black man shot by Nashville police calls for justice after surveillance video released
Surveillance video released Wednesday by the Nashville District Attorney’s Office shows the last moments of 25-year-old Daniel Hambrick's life, as he runs away from the officer who fatally shot him after a traffic stop.
The July 26 shooting of Hambrick, who was black, prompted some to question if racial bias influenced the shooting. The 25-year-old Nashville police officer who shot Hambrick, Andrew Delke, is white.
In the video, Hambrick is seen sprinting away from the officer without looking back. Delke runs after Hambrick, stops, and begins shooting.
"The police officer chases him with his gun drawn. He chases him, and at some point he slows down, and executes him," Joy Kimbrough, an attorney representing the Hambrick family, said Wednesday at a news conference held at Nashville's NAACP chapter. "He fell to the ground where he was cuffed, and left there like a dog. If there is ever a case of premeditated first degree murder, this is it."
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (TBI), the agency investigating the shooting, said in a statement that "Hambrick appears to have a dark-colored object in his hand." While no weapon is seen on Hambrick in the video, Nashville police tweeted out a picture of a gun on July 26 with the caption: "25-year-old man who carried this gun was shot by MNPD officer."
Nashville Mayor David Briley appeared at a news conference Wednesday as the video was being released. He called for a "comprehensive review" of Nashville's policing strategies and noted that part of the review would be to look at police staffing.
"We will be taking a very hard look at our de-escalation policies and use-of-force policies," Briley said.
The Nashville Police department has a de-escalation training program in which officers are sent to different parts of the country to learn new techniques, Nashville police chief Steve Anderson told ABC-affiliate WKRN.
"Now keep in mind, just because our officers are skilled in de-escalation procedures doesn't mean that they're always going to work," Anderson said.
The Hambrick family, along with Kimbrough and members of the Nashville NAACP chapter, were emotional as they gave a statement calling for the firing of Delke and asking that he be charged with murder. They also asked for a civil rights investigation and a review of the Nashville Police Department. The Hambrick family viewed the video for the first time Wednesday morning before it was released to the public.
James Smallwood, president of the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police, said in a statement to ABC News that his organization would have preferred the entire investigation be released at once to provide a fuller narrative and context.
Smallwood said the video appears grainy and does not depict an accurate portrayal of what happened. He claims Hambrick was asked to drop his weapon repeatedly and failed to do so.
"Had he dropped his weapon and just kept running, the conclusion of that incident would be much different than what we are faced with today," Smallwood added.
Delke was placed on routine administrative leave while the investigation is pending.
At the news conference, Kimbrough contested claims of the TBI. According to a TBI news release from July 27, Nashville police were searching the area on July 26 for stolen vehicles and witnessed a vehicle driving erratically. After an officer attempted a traffic stop, the driver fled. A short while later, the officers re-encountered the occupants of the vehicle, who exited the vehicle as Delke entered the parking lot. Hambrick then turned and ran from the officer.
Kimbrough said the vehicle belonged to Hambrick’s family friend.
Daniel Battle Griffin Jr. of Nashville's NAACP chapter said the issue is that metropolitan police are not trained on what to do if someone runs from them or if they can't see an individual's hands.
"This is not Vietnam. It's not Iraq. It's not Afghanistan,” Griffin, a veteran, said, insisting the city of Nashville is not a combat zone.
Hambrick's uncle, Sam Hambrick Jr., said he didn’t understand how Delke interpreted Hambrick running away as a threat.
"If I'm running away from you, I cannot be a threat to you. I don't care if I have a hand grenade in my pocket -- if I'm running away, I can't be a threat,” Hambrick Jr. said.
Nashville Chief of Police Anderson said that he is confident the Nashville Police Department does not discriminate based on skin color, but he finds the video disturbing.
"It's very disturbing, and I'm sure it's very disturbing for the Hambrick family to watch," Anderson said.
"You know, the death of a son to a mother is the same for her as it is for any mother in the world, and that can't be taken away. But at the same time, I can't pass any judgement. It is very disturbing, and there are a lot of questions that have to be answered. But I've come to understand over the years, having made this mistake from time to time, to make sure that I have everything before me before I pass judgement."
The overwhelming sentiment of the news conference held by Hambrick's family and the NAACP was a desire for justice without violence. Hambrick's mother, Vickie Hambrick, repeatedly expressed she wants justice for her son. A cousin of Hambrick's described him as his legally-blind mother's only child, who helped her and was about to start a new job.
"If you're going to protest, protest peacefully," Hambrick Jr. said.
"No violence," added Sam Hambrick III, a cousin of Daniel Hambrick's. "For the sake of our family, no violence."News - Family of black man shot by Nashville police calls for justice after surveillance video released