NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The former Metro police officer who shot and killed a man after a traffic stop and foot chase in North Nashville was sentenced Friday morning to three years in jail.
Andrew Delke, who resigned from the Metro Nashville Police Department Thursday, entered a guilty plea to a charge of voluntary manslaughter for the June 2018 shooting death of Daniel Hambrick.
During Friday morning’s hearing, Delke admitted that he was responsible for Hambrick’s mother, Vickie, losing her son and said “these are facts I will have to live with for the rest of my life.”
“Not a day has gone by that I have not thought about my actions,” Delke added.
Joy Kimbrough, the attorney representing Hambrick’s family, then read a statement from Vickie Hambrick, urging Judge Monte Watkins to reject the plea deal.
“The citizens are begging you, Judge Monte Watkins, to do the right thing and reject this plea deal. It’s not fair, it’s not justice,” Kimbrough said.
Vickie Hambrick spoke after Kimbrough, screaming to Delke, “I hate you. I don’t accept your apology.”
She then lunged at Glenn Funk, the District Attorney, and the courtroom was cleared.
When court resumed without Hambrick’s family, Judge Watkins announced he had accepted the terms of the plea deal, which included Delke waiving his right to an appeal and to ask for probation.
In an interview after court adjourned, Funk said, “We were ready to try this case. We’ve been ready. We’ve been working for three years to get this case ready, but what would have the result been? Very large percentage it would have been a hung jury.”
David Raybin, the attorney representing Delke, read a statement and reiterated that “voluntary manslaughter is not murder.”
“Andrew Delke would like to thank everyone who supported him over the last three years,” Raybin said. “We’ve been absolutely overwhelmed with support by law enforcement and other concerned citizens, both locally and nationwide.”
Metro police Chief John Drake issued a statement after the judge accepted the plea deal.
“Andrew Delke resigned from the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department on Thursday, July 1.
Today’s guilty plea ends three years of waiting by the Hambrick Family, the Delke family, our police department and Nashville as a whole. It has been a difficult three years for many, and I again express condolences to the relatives of Daniel Hambrick over his loss.
It is my hope that with today’s court action, we can all continue to move forward, knowing that we cannot undo the events of July 26, 2018. My clear priorities continue to be precision policing, de-escalation and strengthening community partnerships. Our department has and continues to evolve to best serve all of Nashville.”
Senator Brenda Gilmore issued the following statement:
“Nashville is at a crossroad. This is our city’s first ever guilty plea for a police officer who used illegal and deadly force against a Nashvillian who was born and raised in this city. It is hard to grapple with the fact that this three year sentence is justice.
In the wake of George Floyd, a sad but painful truth was revealed: Far too many Black males are victims of excessive use of deadly force by police.
We have a road ahead of us. We, as Nashvillians, must determine if it will be long or short.
This 3-year sentence communicates that Daniel Hambrick’s life was not valued by the legal system. However, as your Tennessee State Senator, I know otherwise.
To his mother and father, family and friends who are experiencing great grief during this time my prayers are with you. We will continue on our road to justice to end police brutality.”
Jill Fitcheard, Executive Director of the Metro Nashville Community Oversight Board, released a statement Friday afternoon that read in part:
“As the Executive Director of the Metro Nashville Community Oversight Board– which was created following the murder of Daniel Hambrick– I stand with the Nashville community in their heartbreak of the egregious miscarriage of justice regarding his life and death.
…Justice is about righting a wrong. What we witnessed today was not justice, it was not equality, it was not fairness, it was not wholeness. It was what it was intended to do– protect the two-tiered justice system from holding itself accountable.”
The Metro Nashville Minority Caucus released the following statement:
“Today’s plea deal was an insult to the family of Daniel Hambrick and the Nashville community as a
whole. While we understand the risk that is associated with going to trial, accepting a 3-year plea deal does not hold former Officer Delke fully accountable for his brazen actions.
This deal ensures that Andrew Delke will be free and reunited with his family, after murdering Daniel Hambrick, in less time than many Black & Brown individuals get for significantly less egregious offenses.
We all agree that our justice system is deeply flawed. While there is no amount of time that would bring back Daniel Hambrick, we must send a firm message of accountability in cases of police brutality. Our prayers are with the Hambrick family and the Nashville community.“
Delke was initially charged with first-degree murder. He was scheduled to go to trial on July 12.
The former Metro police officer will serve his sentence at a Davidson County jail, rather than in a state penitentiary, according to Delke’s attorney.
He added, with standard jail credits, Delke will serve about a year and a half with no probation or parole.
Delke was booked into the Metro jail at 10:48 a.m. Friday. He was placed on precautionary observation and will be closely monitored by correctional staff.
Once the precautionary observation ends, the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office said Delke will be assigned to the jail’s Restrictive Housing Unit.
The cells are 16 feet by 8 feet and inmates are confined to those cells for 22 hours a day.
Delke will be housed alone and go to recreation alone, the sheriff’s office added.