A Nashville criminal court judge heard defense arguments Friday that will determine what evidence will be approved for use in the murder trial of Metro Police Officer Andre Delke.
Delke shot and killed Nashville resident Daniel Hambrick during a foot pursuit in 2018. He’s now being charged with first-degree murder and is standing trial in July.
In March, the Metro Council approved a $2.25 million settlement for Hambrick’s family. Ahead of the upcoming trial, Delke’s defense team is trying to make the case that he had the legal authority to follow Hambrick in the moments leading up to the shooting.
Defense attorney David Raybin also wants to prove that Hambrick pointed his gun at Delke. There is about a 2-second blindspot in captured surveillance footage.
Froehlich says Delke had mentioned a particular vehicle he was following that evening — a white Chevy Impala. Froehlich also says he had a private dash cam on his car (MNPD cars were not equipped with dash cams at the time. The department is still rolling them out now).
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Delke took notes in the courtroom as his defense called witnesses and presented photo evidence that Hambrick possessed firearms after being convicted of a felony. It’s unclear how these earlier incidents were related to the shooting.
That led to a brief back-and-forth with Nashville Assistant District Attorney Roger Moore, who accused the defense of attempting to damage Hambrick’s image.
“Character assassination, that’s all this has been,” Moore said during the court hearing. “All these pictures are for is the unspoken, if not overtly, ‘This is someone whose life was not worth anything because of some of the actions that he may have participated in.’ ”
The photos were filed under seal, and the judge said they would remain that way. This means they won’t become public record.
The hearing ended Friday afternoon and will resume Monday morning. So far, seven witnesses have been called to testify.
Delke’s defense team spent over an hour questioning witnesses about video footage of the incident. Or more specifically, a short clip of time that is missing.
The defense thinks that lost clip could include key evidence.
For Officer Delke to be found not guilty of murder, he’ll have to prove that he believed he or others were in danger when he fired his weapon. Delke told investigators that he thought Daniel Hambrick had pointed a gun at him. And that’s why he shot.
But that doesn’t appear on any of the surveillance footage turned over to officials. And Delke’s defense team is trying to suggest that it happened during a quick moment when they ran past a broken camera. Or that some footage was never turned over before it was automatically erased.
The man who oversees the surveillance system says the camera had been struck by lightning a couple months back. He doesn’t think there was any footage of the incident not turned over to investigators.
On Monday, Delke’s defense attorney will be questioning the state agent who reviewed videos of the incident and interviewed the officer two days after the shooting.
This story was updated on Sunday at 3:20 p.m.