NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — The decision to prosecute Metro Police Officer Andrew Delke in the death of Daniel Hambrick sent shock waves through the midstate. No other on-duty police officer in Metro Police history has ever been charged for murder.
Over the past couple decades, Gicola Lane has noticed policing change in Nashville.
“There weren't cameras back then. Witnesses were sometimes very intimidated to report things,” Lane said.
She's an instrumental part of Community Oversight Now. She says police officers shooting African American men is personal.
“My uncle Timothy Lamont Lane was also killed by a MNDP officer December 17th, 2000,” Lane recalls. “It was in East Nashville, where we're from, and he was running from police, and they shot him in the neck and the back."
Lane said there was a fight for justice then, but she had never seen real results until Thursday, when the District Attorney charged officer Andrew Delke for shooting and killing Daniel Hambrick.
“We're encouraged that District Attorney Glenn Funk made history today in deciding to charge an officer and hold him accountable,” Lane said.
She says the change stems from one woman in particular, the mother of Jocques Clemmons, Sheila Clemmons Lee.
“My first thought was ‘Thank you Lord,’” Clemmons Lee said.
An officer shot and killed her son in February 2017. He never faced charges. Clemmons Lee pushed and pushed, and eventually Metro Police agreed never to investigate officer-involved shooting involving their own department, and instead, turn things over to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
“This is how change and progress is going to continue to be made,” Lane said.
However, former Metro Officer Buford Tune thinks this change sets a dangerous precedent.
“Officers are afraid to go out and do their jobs," Tune said. "They're afraid to do anything, because if you don't have the support of the people you're working under and with, what have you got?”
He says soon, officers are going to start leaving the force.
“We've got to stop this. It's going to continue on, and you're going to be by yourself one day,” Tune commented.
One thing both sides can agree on: It's a monumental decision that's going to spark change.