NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Surveillance camera footage released Wednesday of a fatal police shooting in Tennessee appears to show a white police officer chasing a black man and opening fire as he runs away from the officer.
The video was released as Nashville Mayor David Briley announced a “comprehensive review” of policing procedures after last month’s shooting.
Nashville Officer Andrew Delke, who is white, fatally shot a 25-year-old black man, Daniel Hambrick, on a sidewalk beside an apartment complex during a traffic stop July 26.
The video from a nearby school seems to show Hambrick fall to the ground after being shot and the officer move slowly closer with his weapon still drawn.
In the video, Hambrick does not appear to turn around toward the officer during the chase and shooting.
The release of the video prompted demands from the Nashville NAACP that Delke be fired and charged with murder, and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation open up a civil rights probe and a review of the Nashville Police Department.
In return, Nashville Fraternal Order of Police President James Smallwood criticized the release of the video before the investigation is completed, and said that if Hambrick dropped a pistol he was holding as ordered, he’s confident Hambrick would still be alive.
Members of the Hambrick family sobbed, raised their voices in outrage, and urged for no violent protests in an emotionally raw news conference Wednesday. Their attorney, Joy Kimbrough, said the family had just seen the video for the first time earlier in the day.
“I just want justice for my son,” Vickie Hambrick, Hambrick’s mother, said during the news conference with the local NAACP. “That’s all I’m asking. And for all the young black guys and young women, I want justice for them. I love them all.”
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has said police had been looking for stolen vehicles, though Kimbrough said Hambrick wasn’t in a stolen car. Bureau spokesman Josh DeVine has said authorities believe that during a traffic stop, Hambrick “reportedly emerged from the vehicle with a firearm in his hand” and the “situation escalated,” resulting in Delke firing his gun several times. Hambrick appeared to have a dark-colored object in his hand during the chase in a separate video from a housing complex that also has been released.
The bureau said a handgun was recovered at the scene.
On the day of the shooting, Metro Nashville Police tweeted out a photo of a handgun, saying that a fatal police-involved shooting occurred and the “25-year-old man who carried this gun was shot by MNPD officer.”
Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said the new video must be evaluated “contextually, with the entire TBI file, which obviously we don’t have yet.” He said the department maintains that Hambrick had a gun.
Aaron said Delke was placed on routine administrative assignment and would not return to street duty until the investigation is complete and the district attorney has assessed it.
Sam Hambrick Jr., Hambrick’s uncle, questioned how his nephew could’ve been a threat while running away.
“I don’t care if I have a hand grenade in my pocket; if I’m running away, I can’t be a threat to you,” Sam Hambrick Jr. said.
Smallwood, the Fraternal Order of Police official, countered that Hambrick refused commands to drop the gun, and could’ve fired over his shoulder or under his arm, or swung his arm back and shot the gun upside down. Smallwood said his group is confident that the investigation will exonerate Delke.
Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk’s office said the footage was released “in an effort to show transparency as much as possible during this investigation,” adding that the investigation is expected to be finished within the next two weeks.
The mayor said neither he nor Funk has made any judgments yet on the officer’s actions.
“It is absolutely necessary that in this context, we continue to conduct ourselves as a community peacefully and to give the process a chance to reach its final conclusion, while we work hard as a community to improve the way we police in Nashville,” Briley said.
The shooting death has heightened calls from community members who want to create a police oversight board in Nashville. A group has gathered more than twice the number of signatures required for a referendum on the topic, and the local election commission needs to approve the language and 8,269 signatures to place it on the ballot.
The mayor said he is for civilian oversight of the police department but said he has questions about that particular proposal.