An expert on police use of force who testified against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will be allowed to participate in the upcoming murder trial of a Nashville police officer.
On July 26, 2018, Nashville Metro Police Officer Andrew Delke shot and killed Daniel Hambrick, during a foot chase. The chase happened after a traffic stop. Metro Police reported officers with the Juvenile Crime Task Force had noticed a white Chevrolet Impala driving erratically. The officers tried to stop the vehicle, but it did not pull over.
Later in the evening, a Metro officer found a vehicle matching the car’s description in the parking lot of an apartment complex. The occupants of the vehicle got out of the car as Officer Andrew Delke got out of his vehicle. Hambrick began to run and Delke followed behind.
In a court hearing, Delke described the incident. He recalled seeing Hambrick pull a gun from his waistband and point it at him as he ran away. Delke claimed that Hambrick gave him a “targeted glance,” or trying to get an idea of where to shoot. Delke said that he repeatedly yelled to Hambrick to put the gun down and that he thought Hambrick presented an imminent threat.
Surveillance video of the seconds before the shooting show Hambrick facing forward and running away as Delke shoots him. Hambrick was hit three times from behind.
Delke, a 26-year-old white police officer, was charged with one count of premeditated first-degree murder in connection with the shooting of Hambrick, who was 25 and black. Delke pleaded not guilty and claimed that he was acting out of self-defense. Delke is the first Nashville police office to be charged with murder in connection with an on-duty shooting. The trial has been delayed multiple times due the COVID-19 pandemic.
Contested Expert Testimony
Prosecutors presented Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jody Stiger as an expert witness. Earlier this year, Sgt. Stiger testified against Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who was convicted of murder in connection with the death of George Floyd.
Delke’s defense team, led by attorney David Raybin, argued that Sgt. Stiger should not be allowed to testify because the connection to Chauvin, a white police officer who was convicted of murdering a black man, would overshadow the trial. The defense team claimed that using Sgt. Stiger as a witness is the state’s way of associating this case with Chauvin’s. However, the prosecution has said that they will not mention George Floyd’s name at trial.
After consideration, Judge Monte Watkins ordered that Sgt. Stiger may be listed as a state’s expert witness. Judge Watkins also decided to allow former District Attorney Torry Johnson to testify as a defense use-of-force expert.
At earlier motion hearings, Johnson has testified that Delke did have probable cause to chase Hambrick. State attorneys have characterized this testimony as Johnson’s admitting that he may not have prosecuted Delke if this had happened while he was still in office.