Hambrick’s family says poor training and a police culture of “fear, violence, racism, and impunity” played a role in his death.
Last July, Daniel Hambrick, a 25-year-old black man, was fatally shot while running from a white Nashville police officer. Now Hambrick’s family has filed a federal lawsuit arguing that local officers are too quick to use lethal force and that the police department encourages a culture of “fear, violence, racism, and impunity.”
Filed on March 11, the wrongful death lawsuit argues that the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department encourages a belief “that without constant police vigilance and the threat of police violence Nashville’s black community would degenerate into violence and anarchy.”
Because of this alleged culture of paranoia, the lawsuit says, officers in the city overpolice black neighborhoods and aggressively stop black motorists — practices the family says contributed to the fatal shooting of Hambrick.
Hambrick’s family is seeking $30 million in damages.
Although the officer who shot Hambrick, Andrew Delke (also 25 years old), became the first Nashville officer to be charged for an on-duty shooting when he was indicted on a first-degree murder charge in January, the lawsuit accuses the department of evading accountability for its broader practices. The family argues that the department has avoided enacting programs to reduce racial disparities in traffic stops and has resisted adopting a body-worn camera program, despite local officials having allocated money for cameras.
The local police union has said that Delke’s shooting of Hambrick was justified, while community activists and Hambrick’s family say Delke unnecessarily escalated the encounter and shot Hambrick solely because he was running away.