By Sandy Malone and Holly Matkin
Nashville, TN – A former Nashville police officer who got three years in prison under a controversial plea deal for the on-duty fatal shooting of 25-year-old Daniel Hambrick in 2018 is scheduled to be released after serving less than 18 months.
The incident occurred on July 26, 2018 when Nashville police noticed a vehicle driving erratically just moments before the driver sped away, WSMV reported.
Just after 7 p.m. the same night, then 25-year-old Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) Officer Andrew Delke located the vehicle in the parking lot of the John Henry Hale Apartments.
Three individuals, including Hambrick, stepped out of the vehicle.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Hambrick “emerged from the vehicle with a firearm in his hand,” and immediately fled the scene, KMOV reported.
School surveillance cameras captured the officer-involved shooting on video after Hambrick jumped out of a vehicle armed with a gun in his hand and fled.
Officer Delke radioed for backup, then chased Hambrick through the residential area.
Although Hambrick was running away from Officer Delke, he was also running towards other officers arriving at the scene, and was still holding a handgun as he fled, the former officer’s attorney, David Raybin, told The New York Times.
“Tennessee law permits a police officer to use deadly force when there is a danger to others,” Raybin said. “Officer Delke was protecting himself, his backup officers and the public.”
Surveillance footage showed Officer Delke as he chased after the armed suspect through the parking lot of the housing complex.
A different camera angle showed Hambrick as he rounded a corner and sprinted across lawns with the officer following close behind.
Officer Delke repeatedly ordered Hambrick to drop the weapon, but he refused, Nashville Fraternal Order of Police President James Smallwood said.
Despite the fact that the armed suspect could have easily shot at the officer at any time, Hambrick’s family claimed he posed no risk to anyone and that it was legal to run from the police, according to the New York Post.
Officer Delke was terminated from the police department and charged with Hambrick’s murder.
He pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges in July of 2021 in a controversial plea deal that Hambrick’s family strongly opposed and was sentenced to three years behind bars.
“I don’t care if I have a hand grenade in my pocket,” his uncle, Sam Hambrick said, according to the New York Post. “If I’m running away, I can’t be a threat to you.”
Hambrick’s family sued the city in federal court and claimed the incident showed the “culture of fear, violence, racism and impunity” in the police department, the Tennessean reported.
Nashville settled the wrongful death suit for $2.25 million earlier this year.
Despite the outrage of Hambrick’s family and the protesters outside the courthouse after the sentencing, District Attorney General Glenn Funk declared the resolution of the case a victory, the Tennessean reported.
“The reality is tonight, for the first time ever, a Nashville officer is going to bed in jail for killing a black man,” Funk said. “Nashville officers now know they will be held accountable for their actions.”
The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office announced on Thursday that Delke was scheduled for release on Dec. 3 after serving less than half of his three-year sentence, WSMV reported.
The sheriff’s department said the former police officer was eligible for early release from the Davidson County Detention Center because he got credit for good behavior while he was behind bars.