Tennessee courtroom erupts into chaos as former police officer pleads guilty to manslaughter


The grieving mother of a black man killed by a white police officer in a 2018 shooting that was captured on video told him on Friday he’d better be on his guard in jail, leading to chaos in a Tennessee courtroom where the ex-officer pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter.

“I hate you. I hate you. I don’t accept apologies,” Vickie Hambrick yelled at Andrew Delke, a former Metropolitan Nashville Police Officer. “You’d better be on your guard in jail, Mother —- -.”

Hambrick, the mother of Daniel Hambrick — who killed Delke when he shot him three times with his service weapon as Hambrick ran away from him on July 26, 2018 — had to be stopped as she screamed through tears.

The scene continued when other supporters of the Hambrick family also started screaming. The hearing was temporarily halted and the courtroom was cleared.

Vickie Hambrick vehemently opposed the manslaughter plea that her lawyer, Joy Kimbrough, described in court for the explosion of emotions. Hambrick was not told about Delke’s pact with prosecutors to plead guilty in exchange for a three-year prison sentence, Kimbrough said.

Delke was due to start a trial this month on charges of first-degree murder.

A group of about two dozen protesters gathered outside the courthouse shouting ‘no racist police’. Others wore shirts with messages about police and whites receiving light sentences.

The court returned to court about 30 minutes after the eruption. Judge Monte Watkins then accepted the plea and told Delke that he should not be allowed to request parole.

Before the pandemonium, Delke, 27, apologized for long pauses with his voice shaking at times, apologizing for killing 25-year-old Hambrick.

“I plead guilty today because I acknowledge that my use of deadly force was not reasonably necessary under all circumstances,” he read in a statement. “I recognize that what happened on July 26, 2018 was tragic. Mrs. Hambrick lost her son that day. And I am responsible for her loss. … I am deeply sorry for the damage my actions have caused and I hope Mr Hambrick’s family will find some comfort in my acceptance of responsibility and my admission of guilt today.”

Assistant District Attorney Ronald Dowdy said in court that if Delke had gone to court, the facts would have shown that the “shooting was not reasonably necessary”.

Security footage from a nearby school shows Delke chasing Hambrick and taking a shooting stance. A Nashville Police Department spokesman said Delke resigned from the department on Thursday. Delke had been retired, meaning he had to hand in his gun, but could have an office job and still be paid. to be . to follow to arrest in September 2018, he was released on a $25,000 bond.

Delke was working on a juvenile delinquency task force the night Hambrick was killed, Dowdy said. In his role, Delke had to search for stolen vehicles and “known juvenile delinquents,” Dowdy said.

Delke began following a white Chevrolet Impala that he was suspicious of when the driver failed to stop in front of Delke’s patrol vehicle. Delke checked the vehicle’s license plate information and found that the Impala had not been stolen, Dowdy said. But he continued to follow the vehicle, even though he couldn’t see who was driving. Delke eventually tried to stop the vehicle by turning on the blue lights of his patrol vehicle, which, according to the assistant district attorney, started a chase that was not at high speeds.

Delke lost track of the Impala and began searching neighborhoods for it. The officer eventually pulled into the parking lot of an apartment complex after seeing a white four-door sedan, which “wasn’t the Impala,” Dowdy said.

There were many people in the parking lot, Dowdy said, including Hambrick.

Hambrick started to run and Delke, now on foot, chased after him. During the chase, Delke saw Hambrick holding a gun and ordered him several times to “drop the gun or I’ll shoot,” Dowdy said.

“When Mr. Hambrick continued to run away and did not drop the gun, the defendant decided to use deadly force. He took a firing position. He aimed his service weapon and fired four shots,” Dowdy said 51 feet from Hambrick. Three of the bullets hit Hambrick.

The trial would focus on Hambrick’s gun which Delke claimed was briefly pointed at him, but prosecutors have disputed that and it was not shown on video footage.

Hambrick family attorney Kimbrough, before the hearing was halted, pleaded with Judge Watkins to dismiss the plea deal because Vickie Hambrick had waited three years for a trial.

“That’s the only bit, the only semblance of justice she can get for the three bullets that hit and killed her son,” Kimbrough said.

Kimbrough read a statement from Vickie Hambrick, who is legally blind, about what her late son meant to her and how she saw a plea as an injustice.

“He was my only child and the love of my life. Daniel recognized at a young age that I had a disability. But he was never ashamed of me or ashamed of me. He loved me unconditionally and constantly said he would always take care of me,” the statement read. Kimbrough read it further: “I am angry, angry and disgusted. … I oppose the way the state and the defense “Come together to protect this racist, biased, anti-black criminal system. My son was murdered on video by the Nashville police. My son has a right, he has a right to a public trial.”

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