NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A man whose father was killed by Metro police is questioning what police did before the shooting. Officers responded to the Davidson-Cheatham County line last weekend to a report that a man was throwing things at cars.
Metro police shot and killed Drandon Brown after they say he charged at them with a knife.
Police recently started pairing mental health specialists with officers on some calls. Now, Brown’s son is questioning where they were when his father died.
“I always expected just to find out that he had passed away, but not with this level of violence,” said Christopher Brown, Drandon’s son.
Christopher admitted it had been about three years since he last spoke with his dad, who had a long history with drugs and alcohol. However, Christopher says he always left the door for a relationship open, even when other family members had given up.
Living across state lines, in Kentucky, Christopher says it was a knock on his door around 3 a.m. that weekend, that had him worried. Christopher explained for years, he always imagined learning about his father’s death long after it happened.
Hours after learning about Drendon’s death, he watched the body camera footage released by Metro police.
“The guy I saw in the video wasn’t the same guy I talked to, even in 2019. It just obviously seemed like there were a lot of things going on, and he wasn’t mentally fit,” said Christopher.
According to Metro police, the entire interaction happened in exactly 71 seconds, from the time police arrived to when shots were fired.
“Obviously, there’s something wrong. I mean it was pretty clear from the 911 calls that somebody wasn’t in their right mind,” Christopher said.
Audio from the dispatch described, “We had someone call on him earlier yelling at cars,” and “he is still in the same area, but now he is throwing tree limbs at cars, in the road.”
Footage from that night showed what led up to the deadly encounter.
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“When one officer said to the other something along the lines of are you ready, that seems to be when the wheels came off, and that’s when it came to a confrontation instead of a conversation,” Christopher said.
Shortly after, tasers were deployed. In the video, you can see they didn’t stop Brown from continuing to walk. Police told News 2, his heavy jacket blocked most of the impact. However, Christopher said what happened that he felt could have saved his dad’s life.
“I believe we are just sorely lacking in this entire country when it comes to mental health care, and having mental health advocates on the scene when for a call like this,” said Christopher.
MNPD has a specialized program for those in mental health crisis through Partners in Care, which is why Christopher wondered why they weren’t called.
Last year, the Metro Nashville Police Department introduced the “Partners in Care” program. It combines mental health professionals with Metro officers to respond to 911 emergencies when needed. The pilot program has been up and running for nearly 12 months now, and Randolph explained looking at the data, it’s clear that the program is needed.
“It was an old man, and even the officer that fired that was to his right, he was backing way quicker than my dad was moving forward. It just seems like there was a better way to de-escalate the situation,” Christopher said.
Metro police say the program doesn’t operate in the West Precinct yet, where the incident happened, the program also doesn’t operate on the weekends, even if it did operate during that time, the incident happened too quickly to call in help.