Jury selection to begin next week in trial of Metro officer Andrew Delke

Posted at 1:16 PM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 16:33:30-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — In just days jury selection will begin in a criminal case never seen before in the city of Nashville.

UPDATE: Former MNPD officer Delke pleads guilty to manslaughter in shooting of Daniel Hambrick

Metro Police officer Andrew Delke is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Daniel Hambrick.

It's been nearly three years since officer Delke shot Hambrick. By now many people have seen the surveillance video of what happened, and many have already made up their minds on whether it was right or wrong.

The shooting happened on July 26, 2018, on the corner of 17th Avenue N. and Jo Johnston Avenue. Delke was chasing Hambrick, who he said was carrying a gun. Delke said he considered Hambrick to be an imminent threat and shot him.

Some say Delke followed training and did his job. Others say it was murder.

Choosing an impartial jury in Davidson County won't be easy.

"Let's take a look at what's going on in America with policing and the narrative of police interaction with the community and citizens," said Newschannel 5's legal analyst Nick Leonardo.

A survey by Delke's defense team found 80% of those polled who saw the shooting video have already decided on if he is guilty or not guilty.

But the judge rejected motions for an outside jury or a change of venue.

"It's OK to have heard about the case, but how many people have a strong view one way or the other and who has made up their mind about guilt or innocence? If people are honest you'll see quite a few dismissed for cause," said Leonardo.

Jury selection is set for all next week and Leonardo thinks at least 300 people -- a large number -- will be called for the jury pool. Everyone there for jury selection and the trial can expect more security.

"The sheriff by statute is responsible for the courthouse," said Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall.

He says he's well aware of the high-profile nature of the case and the strong emotions associated with it on both sides.

"Given the nature that it's a police officer involved and we have not been through something like this before, we need to be aware of the sensitivity. We'd be naive not to be," Hall said.

The sheriff's goal will be to make sure everyone who enters the courthouse is safe and secure.

Jury selection begins Tuesday and the evidence phase starts the following Monday. It's expected the trial will last at least two weeks.