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Metro Govt., Nashville officer sued for $30 million in deadly shooting of Daniel Hambrick

Metro Police photo/FOX 17 News
Metro Police photo/FOX 17 News
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*First on Fox, because original stories matter.*

The family of a man killed by a Nashville police officer is suing the man who killed him and Metro Government for $30 million.

Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) Officer Andrew Delke is charged in the July 2018 killing of Daniel Hambrick. Surveillance footage released by the DA's office shows Delke shooting Hambrick in the back. Officer Delke claims he saw Hambrick with a gun.

Family members filed a federal lawsuit for wrongful death, excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment and race discrimination.

Delke was previously indicted by a Grand Jury for first-degree murder and pleaded not guilty. A judge has since ordered that evidence in the case will be sealed.

Hambrick's family filed the lawsuit on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Plaintiffs are requesting a trial by jury in the lawsuit, $30 million and court fees.

Lawsuit claims racial bias, calls out Metro Police training and Policy

MNPD "Justifies The Murder"

The lawsuit calls out the way Metro Police initially handled the murder, saying that within hours of the shooting, MNPD's professional social media accounts posted that an officer had shot a "gunman."

During an interview with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Delke stated that at one point during the foot chase, Delke turned around and pointed a gun at him. The lawsuit claims surveillance footage does not show that happening.

After the footage was made public, speaking with reporters, MNPD Chief Steve Anderson called the shooting "troubling" and that MNPD had to review its foot pursuit policy.

The lawsuit claims that MNPD didn't immediately launch disciplinary actions against Delke.

MNPD's Training and Policy

The alleged murder of Hambrick was "consistent with MNPD policy and practice," the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit claims MNPD provides the 1986 book, “The Tactical Edge,” to ne recruit-trainees. According to the lawsuit, the book depicts white police officers who were shot and killed by a black man, “accompanied by text indicating that the officers were “wasted” because they were “careless.”

MNPD culture, "The Thin Blue Line"

The lawsuit claims some MNPS officers refer to African-American Nashville citizens as "thugs" and refer to midtown as "Baghdad."

"On information and belief, many current MNPD officers, and retired MNPD officers who remain part of MNPD’s cultural community, believe that without constant police vigilance and the threat of police violence Nashville’s black community would degenerate into violence and anarchy," the lawsuit states.

Claims in the lawsuit say that MNPD command and staff believe in conducting "proactive" traffic stops in high crime neighborhoods to reduce crime.

"Many MNPD officers, and retired MNPD officers who remain part of MNPD’s cultural community, believe in the moral validity of the assertion that citizens should “Just COMPLY and everyone lives," the lawsuit states.

Racial Profiling: Traffic Stops, Roadside Searches

Traffic stops have substantially increased in Nashville, according to the lawsuit, that also claims Chief Anderson made traffic stops his "Mission One" when taking the job in 2010.

The lawsuit claims MNPD's policy on racial profiling "does not prohibit officers from using race as a factor in determining which drivers to stop, search, and/or arrest, so long as race is not the sole basis for the officer’s decision." Officers can't profile people, but they can profile cars.

Under Anderson's tenure, the lawsuit alleges a higher proportion of African-American drivers have been subjected to roadside searches. The lawsuit says MNPD dismisses the "Driving While Black" report.

Body Cameras

It's been 600 days since Metro Council approved funding for police body cameras, and still, Metro Police officers are patrolling the streets without them.

Metro Council approved $15,000,000 for body cameras back in July 2017. They began a procurement process for the cameras more than a year later, in October 2018. The procurement process is ongoing. They estimate they’ll choose a camera by April 30th of 2019, almost two years after the process started.

The lawsuit says Metro Police refuse to implement body cameras and dash cameras, claiming they intentionally stalled the process of purchasing them for as long as possible. It also cites Judge Melissa Blackburn as saying MNPD deprived the court of critical evidence by not equipping each officer with a camera.

The lawsuit claims MNPD "refuses" to implement body cameras. See FOX 17 News' latest investigation here.

MNPD permits "male white officers greater leeway thank black officers"

"White male officers greater leeway under this system than other officers, tending to permit white male officers to violate rules without consequence whereas officers of other demographic backgrounds are held to a tougher standard," the lawsuit said. "African-American officers must “toe the line” more than their white counterparts in order to succeed at MNPD."

MNPD's internal disciplinary measures permit "officers to mistreat citizens."

MNPD's "Office of Professional Accountability" (OPA) was created in 2001 after the lawsuit claims there were "community concerns" that the department's internal disciplinary system for protecting citizens was "ineffective, failing to hold officers accountable for violations of citizens’ civil rights."

Now, the lawsuit says 80 percent of misconduct complaints are solved by the officer's supervisor, while only 20 percent are resolved by the OPA. The OPA decides which branch resolves each misconduct complaint, with the OPA taking on more serious cases. However, the lawsuit says this system isn't followed by the department.

Community Oversight Issues

The lawsuit claims that MNPD "digs in" to the Community Oversight Board and "punishes" those who participate.

In 2017, a "Policing Project" was conducted but "concluded in secret" and the department "declined to create a steering committee."

Officer Delke's acted "overly aggressive" as an officer, the lawsuit claims. Click here for the report.

Read the full lawsuit here on mobile or view below:

Full Statement from the Metro Nashville Police Department:

"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.

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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."

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