NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk says it's likely that if former Metro Police officer Andrew Delke went to trial, it would have ended in a hung jury.
Delke agreed to a three year sentence on Friday in the shooting death of Daniel Hambrick. That sentence was on a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter, not the murder charge he was facing at trial.
Discussing the decision to accept a three year sentence, one which Hambrick's family opposed, Funk says his team felt the most likely end to the trial would have been a hung jury.
"This has never been a slam dunk case for a murder prosecution," Funk said.
"I was talking to Police Chief Drake yesterday, and he thought there was a 90% chance there would be a hung jury, and it would be along racial lines," Funk said. "Members of my team on the trial team acknowledged a well over 50% chance this jury would hang."
"No verdict, no judgment, no accountability, the emotion we saw in this courtroom today would have played out 100-fold if there had been no accountability in this case.
Earlier in the day, the court hearing had to be stopped after an emotions poured over from Hambrick's mother in court, causing her family members to restrain her.
"Mrs. Hambrick's emotions are real," Funk said. "They are legitimate. I think we should all understand that no one should lose a child, especially not at the hands of a police officer that's sworn to protect and serve the community."
One of the considerations Funk says he and his team considered what that Hambrick had a gun when he was shot, and that Delke issued a warning.
"Daniel Hambrick did in fact have a gun and he was carrying it in his hand. That does not mean than an officer has the right to shoot him in the back when the man's just running away. Daniel Hambrick did not ever threaten Andrew Delke. He never tried to shoot Andrew Delke, he just tried to run away, but the fact that he had that gun in his hand, even though I don't think it meant Andrew Delke had a right to shoot and kill Daniel Hambrick, but the reality is that it would have made it a much more difficult case to get 12 jurors to unanimously believe this was a murder case."
"Fact of the matter is Andrew Delke did tell Daniel Hambrick to stop," Funk continued, "and warned that if he didn't stop he would shoot him...the fact that those statements were made would make it harder to get 12 jurors from this community to all unanimously decide to bring a murder conviction."
Funk says the decision is historic for the city. "Tonight will be the first night Nashville has ever had a police officer in jail for shooting a black man on duty. That's significant progress."