Community leaders are dissecting a judge’s ruling Monday that moves a police officer’s homicide case to a grand jury. They say the decision could impact the future of police accountability in Nashville in different ways.
Last summer, Nashville police officer Andrew Delke fatally shot a fleeing 25-year-old black man, Daniel Hambrick. Delke’s lawyers say Hambrick was holding a gun, but yesterday a judge ruled the officer’s use of lethal force in this situation was still not justifiable.
Keith Caldwell, president of the NAACP in Nashville, agrees with the decision and says it builds trust in the police department. It shows officers will be held accountable, he says.
“I think that Judge Blackburn’s decision strikes at the heart of this myth that to be pro-police accountability is to somehow be anti-police,” Caldwell said.
But James Smallwood, the president of the city’s Fraternal Order of Police, says the trial painted an unfair picture of Delke, which erodes trust between the community and law enforcement.
“District Attorney Funk’s actions will undoubtedly create suspicion in the minds of the officers of this city that if they follow the law and follow their training they will be wrongfully prosecuted.”
Now, it’s up to the grand jury whether Delke will be indicted.