NASHVILLE, TN – Family, friends, and church members said goodbye to Daniel Hambrick Saturday at the First Baptist Church in East Nashville. Preachers prayed and the choir sang. The three-hour funeral featured a performance by four mimes, all dressed in black except for white masks and gloves.
Wordlessly they danced “Dan-Dan’s” short life, arms and legs synchronized and quickly moving here and there. When they were done, one of the dancers waved and walked quickly to the casket and gave it a little pat as the quartet exited the sanctuary.
Police say Hambrick was spotted joy-riding in a white Chevy Impala with two friends near Watkins Park in North Nashville July 26. Officer Andrew Delke later spotted the car in the parking lot of Henry Hale Apartments around 7 p.m. Hambrick fled on foot and Delke shot him on the sidewalk on the corner of Jo Johnson and 17th Ave North. The Impala drove off and was abandoned nearby.
The TBI has some video but hasn’t released it. We don’t know much more than that except police say Hambrick was armed and a TBI spokesman said they are investigating why Delke fired his weapon several times. Hambrick died in the ambulance on his way to the hospital. Delke has been place on administrative leave.
Pat Wright read several messages of condolence. Pastor Michael Cousins said “Dan Dan” was a quiet young man and a hard worker and urged young people to use “godly wisdom” to learn how to stay alive. “We’re still living in a racist society,” said Cousins. He called for the creation of a Community Oversight Board (COB) to monitor police violence.
“You born black you gonna be black and that ain’t gonna change. What needs to change is how people view us as people,” Cousins said.
Minister Catina Parrish said it was hard to give comfort to Hambrick’s family “with the lack of details around his death”.
A NAACP spokesperson called for justice and transparency in the investigation of Hambrick’s death. The statement read in part: “We will continue to support and advocate for the establishment of a COB in Metro Davidson County to give citizens most impacted by police misconduct a voice and input.”
Pastor Andrew Mathis told the 250 mourners he went to the City Clerk’s office last week to deliver 8000 petitions to establish a COB. As the Tribune has reported, Elizabeth Waites blew off the appointment and did not show up to receive the petitions. See: http://tntribune.com/community/local/nashville/city-clerk-disses-petitioners-cooper-calms-angry-crowd/
“This is going to be one of the hardest times of your life,” said Mellnee Ransom.
In the first pew just a few feet from her son’s closed casket Vickie Hambrick fell over weeping. She gained her composure and spoke briefly to the congregation.
“I can’t pick up the phone and call Daniel. Daniel can’t pick up the phone and call me no more. I love y’all and if y’all love me y’all get your lives together,” she said.
Hambrick was buried in the Greenwood North Cemetery. He is survived by his mother and father, Robert Snell; his sister Zyan Batey; grandfather, Samuel Hambrick and grandmother, Constance Snell; great-grandmother, Willie Smith, and several cousins, aunts, and uncles.