NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Video footage of a white Nashville police office fatally shooting an armed Black man from behind during a chase will be allowed into next month's murder trial, a Nashville judge ruled Monday.
Judge Monte Watkins' decision comes as defense attorneys for 27-year-old white Officer Andrew Delke had sought to keep the jury from seeing any video evidence of the shooting of Daniel Hambrick.
Defense attorney David Raybin had asked the judge to exclude all video evidence because he argued additional footage could have shown a key, unseen blip in the chase. Raybin had claimed this additional footage was not retained in the investigation.
However, prosecutors have countered that it’s unlikely that the additional, unreviewed video would show anything new.
In the surveillance footage available, there is a blip of a blind spot in the angles seen, a point the defense has focused on. The defense has said the weapon became pointed at Delke during the chase, but prosecutors have cast doubt about that.
“There is significant video footage from nearly 70 other cameras that recorded the incident. The actions of Mr. Delke or Mr. Hambrick that could possibly be contained on this missing footage is entirely speculative," Judge Watkins wrote in his seven-page decision.
“The preserved video footage is substantial and shows the entirety of the incident between Mr. Delke and Mr. Hambrick,” Watkins wrote, adding that there was "no proof to support that Mr. Hambrick did in fact brandish his weapon during this 36 feet that the surveillance cameras failed to capture.”
Allowing the video footage is one of the latest key rules that's been hashed out ahead of the approaching murder trial. Defense attorneys can’t bring up the former arrests and convictions of Hambrick, who had a felony record. The defense can’t show the jury a photo of Hambrick with money and several handguns, or other photos used to “counter” the 8 x 10 photo of Hambrick that prosecutors can display.
Delke did not know who Hambrick was when he chased him and shot him three times, an arrest affidavit states.
Delke has pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder charges. Delke’s attorney has said the officer acted in line with his training and Tennessee law in response to “an armed suspect who ignored repeated orders to drop his gun.” District Attorney General Glenn Funk has argued Delke had other alternatives, adding the officer could have stopped, sought cover and called for help.
The Associated Press