TRIGGER WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO BELOW
Pastor Harris is referring to 25-year-old Daniel Hambrick, who was fatally shot in the back after running from another 25-year-old, Officer Andrew Delke, of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department on July 26.
Unfortunately, grimly, maddeningly, there are many others who met just that that fate—being shot in the back—by law enforcement, including:
- Derick Wiley
- Thurman Blevins
- Brendan Hester
- Willard Scott Jr.
- Dejuan Guillory
- Deontrace Ward
- Maurice Granton
- Walter Scott
- Dominique White
- Aaron Bailey
- LaQuan McDonald
- Stephon Clark
We’re sure there are dozens, if not hundreds, more.
On Wednesday, the Nashville District Attorney’s Office released surveillance footage of last month’s fatal police shooting of Hambrick and the community is rightly up in arms. They are calling for accountability and the removal of the city’s police chief, Steve Anderson.
In a statement Wednesday, Nashville Mayor David Briley’s office called for the Metro Nashville Police Department to undergo a comprehensive review of the department’s policing strategies, according to the Tennessean.
But community activists and leaders are calling for action, not a bag of mouth. Not reviews. Not studies.
More than a dozen members of the various community churches and organizations gathered Wednesday at Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church to discuss what needs to happen in light of Hambrick’s shooting death.
“I think Anderson needs to resign or the mayor needs to let him go,” said the Rev. James Turner II, who leads the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship, calling it a “demand.”
The meeting, which also included members of Community Oversight Now and Black Lives Matter, happened around the time Briley held his midday news conference in response to the DA’s release of the video. Activist Sekou Franklin, an organizer with Community Oversight Now, called Mayor Briley’s comments “very disappointing,” adding that the mayor’s decision to bring in the New York-based Policing Project was “racism.”
The Policing Project, based out of the New York University School of Law, says its first order of business in partnering with the city will be “a full cost-benefit analysis to assess the efficacy of proactive traffic stops, the first study of its kind in the country.”
Pastor Harris of First Baptist Church expressed the sentiment of those gathered, saying that anything that is not comprehensive, community-based and informed movement is unacceptable.
“I can’t imagine the horror of seeing your family member being gunned down, running away,” said Harris, who also met with Briley. “I’m a preacher but I’m tired of talking. There’s no talk that fixes this. There’s no prayer that fixes this. It’s action that fixes this. There’s got to be understanding that because a person wears a uniform doesn’t mean more than a life of someone that’s not wearing a uniform,” he said.
The Tennessean reports that the Nashville Police Department has not equipped all of its officers with body-worn cameras and dash cams, noting that the video footage of Hambrick’s death comes from pieced together video footage from nearby surveillance cameras.
Last year, another Metro officer fatally shot Jocques Clemmons, a 31-year-old black man. No criminal charges were filed in the case.
D.J. Hudson, who was representing Black Lives Matter and other organizations, vowed to continue putting pressure on the city and police department until something substantive happens.
“We are not asking anything elaborate. We are asking the police to stop killing us,” said Hudson.
Until then, there will be more mothers, children, friends, cousins, and communities weeping as we are shot in our backs by those tasked to protect and serve us—not death by the way.