Daniel Hambrick’s family files $30M wrongful death suit against Delke, Metro Nashville

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The family of a man shot and killed by a Metro police officer is suing the officer and the Metropolitan Government of Nashville. 

The suit, which was filed Monday in federal court, seeks $30 million in damages related to the fatal officer-involved shooting of Daniel Hambrick in July 2018.  

“We’re asking for nominal damages, attorney fees, and costs,” said Hambrick family attorney, Joy Kimbrough. “So, we’re asking for $30 million at a minimum.”  

Ofc. Delke is also facing homicide charges in Hambrick’s shooting death.  

“He was a good person,” said Vickie Hambrick, Daniel’s mother, during a press conference Monday afternoon. “He would give you the shirt off of his back. He don’t mind helping anybody, and he helped everybody.”  

The wrongful death lawsuit accuses Officer Andrew Delke of using excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The suit also claims Metro Nashville is responsible for the Metro Nashville Police Department’s failure to implement body cameras and ongoing issues with racial discrimination and profiling.  

Click here to view the lawsuit

The suit extensively quotes training material used by the Metro Nashville Police Dept., like “The Tactical Edge” and “The Thin Blue Line,” to outline why they believe the shooting was illegal. 

For instance, according to the lawsuit, “The Tactical Edge” contains photos of a white male police officer comforting another white male officer who “just shot and killed a black man.” 

Hambrick’s lawsuit also claims that the training book “depicts a “dystopian picture of America in which violent minorities kill officers.” 

The Hambricks believe MNPD’s training, culture and traffic stop policies promote racial profiling within the department. The suit goes on the backup those statements with statistics related to Ofc. Delke.  

According to the lawsuit, Delke conducted 510 traffic stops between March 4, 2017, and July 26, 2018, (not including the stop involving Hambrick). Of those stops, 71-percent of drivers were black, and 23-percent were white. 

Metro Police released a statement 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. 

The Nashville Fraternal Order of Police also released a 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. 

Delke is still employed by MNPD. He was placed on administrative leave with pay after the shooting.

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