Updated January 7, 2019, 2:15 p.m., EDT
A judge sided with prosecutors and decided on Monday to send Nashville police officer Andrew Delke‘s criminal homicide case to a grand jury, the Tennessean reported.
Delke, who is white, was charged with gunning down Daniel Hambrick, who was Black, in the back during a July 26 foot chase. He was the first Nashville officer to be charged after an on-duty shooting.
Attorneys representing a white Nashville cop who shot and killed a fleeing Black suspect in July told a judge at a hearing on Saturday that their client followed his police training.
However, the prosecutor dismissed the defense’s argument as the same nonsense that Nazi officers used to defend themselves after being charged with genocide in the Holocaust, the Tennessean reported.
The prosecutor stood by his criminal homicide charge against Officer Andrew Delke who gunned down the armed 25-year-old Daniel Hambrick in the back during a foot chase. It was caught on surveillance video.
“There were a number of options that were available,” to the officer, District Attorney Glenn Funk said, including taking cover and calling for assistance.
This prosecution comes against the backdrop of Black activists successfully passing Amendment 1 in the November midterm elections. It authorizes the creation of a police oversight panel in Nashville to end the department’s long history of racially biased policing.
On July 26, Delke approached the vehicle Hambrick was in, saying he believed it was the same car he said that he saw earlier that day driving erratically, according to police investigators. Hambrick and two others fled from the officer.
Surveillance video, released by the prosecutor, shows 25-year-old Delke chasing Hambrick. The officer opens fire on Hambrick, who does not appear to turn toward Delke as the officer later claimed. He hits Hambrick twice in the back. After Hambrick falls to the ground, the officer circles the dying man while continuing to point his weapon at him.
Defense witnesses, including a retired police sergeant, told Judge Melissa Blackburn on Saturday that Delke followed police procedures.
Although the video contradicts him, Delke claimed that he saw Hambrick look at him and aim his gun during the foot chase. The retired officer said in that situation Hambrick posed an imminent threat.
“He did not violate the law,” defense attorney David Raybin said at the hearing. “Officer Delke followed his training. He followed the law.”
However, the prosecutor told the judge that Delke must be held accountable for his actions.
“The bottom line is this. Any person in [Davidson County] who shoots someone who is running away from them, shoots them in the back and kills them, needs to be held accountable,” Funk argued.
Blackburn was expected to rule by Monday on whether the case should move forward to a grand jury, which would decide whether to indict the officer.