NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The family of Daniel Hambrick has filed a $30 million lawsuit against the City of Nashville and Andrew Delke, saying the decommissioned police officer charged with killing him “internalized Metro’s culture of fear, violence, ‘proactive' policing, and racism.”
Attorneys filed the 34-page wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the Hambrick family. The complaint claims the deadly shooting was motivated “at least in part on account of [Hambrick’s] race.”
Delke has been charged with first-degree murder in the July 26, 2018 shooting. He's the first Metro officer to face charges in an on-duty shooting.
Delke, a white police officer, is accused of squaring up and firing multiple rounds at the 25-year-old Hambrick, who is black, as he ran away during a chase. Hambrick was struck three times – twice in the back and once in the back of the head.
The incident was captured on video from Martin Luther King Junior Magnet High School.
In a voluntary, recorded interview, Delke said he fired first because he felt that Hambrick was an imminent threat. However, the suit argues that Delke did not have legal justification in the shooting.
"Mr. Hambrick suffered physical, legal, emotional, and financial harm by being gunned down, left to die in the grass, and killed," the claim says.
The family and their attorneys held a press conference Monday evening about the lawsuit.
"We hope that this can somehow someway attempt to compensate the Hambrick's. We hope this doesn't happen again; we hope Metro really takes a look," said Hammbrick's attorney, Joy Kimbrough.
Daniel Hambrick's family and friends gathered in the same spot he was killed just eight months ago. The corner of 17th avenue and Jo Johnston is now an emotional memory of who Daniel was before.
"He was a good person, he would give you the shirt off of his back," said Vicki Hambrick, Daniel's mother.
Kimbrough couldn't speak much on the lawsuit because of rules placed on both parties by the court, but she said the family wants to see policy changes in the metro police department.
"This is beyond some misconduct, you know. parents buried their child that died right where we stand. So, I don't think it's ambitious. I don't think that's what it is," Kimbrough said.
The Metro Nashville Police Department had this to say in response to the lawsuit:
"The Metropolitan Police Department takes strong issue with this inflammatory attack on the department as a whole, our officers and our training academy. The men and women of the MNPD go to work every day to serve ALL of Nashville.
Our academy has been internationally accredited, a separate accreditation process from the police department as a whole, by the Commission on the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) since 2011. The MNPD Academy was last reaccredited in 2017. MNPD officer trainees receive six months of rigorous physical and classroom instruction. That is 1,000 hours of training, double that which is required by the State of Tennessee. This police department firmly believes that the 21 instructors at the MNPD Academy are among the best in the nation and provide both new and veteran officers with an ever expanding and evolving curriculum.
The Metropolitan Police Department, through counsel, looks forward to vigorously defending this lawsuit and correcting the plethora of misinformation it contains. The department is fully aware of the local rule of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee (LR83.04) that limits extrajudicial statements in civil proceedings. Additional response will be made in publicly available pleadings timely filed with the court."
Additionally the Fraternal Order of Police released the following statement:
"This lawsuit contains so many false allegations and hateful stereotypes about police officers that it bears no resemblance to reality. All of the wild and reckless claims in this lawsuit can’t change the fact that Daniel Hambrick was a dangerous and violent convicted felon, running from police, who threatened the life of an officer and forced that officer to defend himself.”