A Metro Nashville police officer who shot a young black man last summer wants his murder trial moved out of Davidson County. Andrew Delke could plead his case in court as early as January.
But at a hearing Thursday morning, Delke’s attorney asked the judge to allow another court to try him.
The exact reasoning behind Delke’s request is still unclear, because all files related to his case have been placed under seal. But the motion isn’t unprecedented.
Defendants in other police-involved shooting cases across the country have also asked for their trials to be moved. Judges haven’t often honored those requests, though.
In Tennessee, courts can change the location when a judge determines the defendant won’t get a fair trial in the county where the crime was committed. When cases are highly publicized, defendants sometimes argue the local community won’t be able to seat an unbiased jury. If a judge agrees, a trial can then either be moved to a new location, or jurors can be sent in from a different county for the duration of the proceedings.
A grand jury indicted Delke on first-degree murder charges in January after he fatally shot Daniel Hambrick during a foot chase in North Nashville. The incident sparked protests throughout the city and galvanized a years-long movement to create a civilian police oversight board.
Delke is the first police officer to be indicted for an on-duty deadly shooting.
A judge will consider Delke’s request for a new trial location in Nov. 13. The Nashville District Attorney’s office and Delke’s lawyer both declined to comment.
Samantha Max is a Report for America corps member.