By Rosetta Miller-Perry
Few things in life are worse than being betrayed, and it’s doubly tough when the person or people doing it claim to be your friend. But there is no other word to accurately describe my feeling at seeing the judicial farce that has occurred in the Andrew Delke case. Despite shooting and killing Daniel Hambrick, someone clearly fleeing at the time and posing no threat to either Delke or any one else, Delke was allowed to take a plea deal today (Friday July 2, 2021) to voluntary manslaughter and get a three-year sentence. Chances are very good he won’t even serve the majority of it, as he’ll no doubt get paroled before he serves even half that time.
The Hambrick family and the Black community is rightly unhappy about this, and well as many people of good will across the city, state and even the nation as news of this deal has now hit all the national papers, websites and television stations. Mayor John Cooper’s another long time friend’s empty statement that “Our thoughts are with Daniel Hambrick’s family today, who have endured an unspeakable loss,” sounds awfully hollow. Likewise the follow-up comments that “we remain committed to policing reforms and violence prevention in our city.” Really?
On a professional level, Glenn R. Funk District Attorney General , the Black community wonders about your past claims when running for office when you said that you would pursue judicial fairness for everyone, and you understood the deeply held frustrations and cynicism in the Black community over the justice system including police misconduct specifically under the previous administration.
Having a Black police chief and a white DA who supposedly are committed to seeing genuine change means nothing if when the time comes to take significant action, you both settle for a slap on the wrist.
Compare what has happened to Delke with what happened a few years ago to former Minneapolis police officer Somalian-American, Mohamed Noor who mistakenly shot and killed Justine Rusczyk who held both U.S. and Australian citizenship. Ruszcyzk had called 911 and later approached a police officer’s car and Noor somehow panicked and shot Justine Rusczyk to death. Noor, a person of color was later convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter despite his admission in court that he had panicked and made a mistake and said he felt fear. He received 12 1/2 years, by a white female judge who said, “The act may have been based on a miscalculation, but it was an intentional act,” “Good people sometimes do bad things.”
But my message from these two cases is crystal clear. If a Black policeman kills a white person, the full weight of the law will come down on him. If a white policeman kills a Black man he will get a slap on the wrist.
It’s also highly probable the local police union was solidly in Delke’s corner and applying pressure on you and that is ok but at least he’s off the force, officially resigning just as he’s getting his plea deal finalized. He will probably be working as a policeman in one of our SMSAs communities in the future.
Back to the issue, the worse part of this betrayal is personal. As the editor/publisher of the Tennessee Tribune, I’ve long considered you a personal friend, a fine family man and I probably will always support you. But you were 100% wrong on this one, and I won’t hesitate to tell you that in person when I get the chance. I’ve seen too many miscarriages of justice and instances of police misconduct and/or brutality happen to Black people in my lifetime to let this pass without a reaction. Friend or not, my first loyalty is always to the people when they are right.
Glenn, THIS WAS WRONG! you should have gone to court and let the process play out, then no one would blame you if a jury found Delke not guilty. Blacks have seen many times where the police skate by when prosecutors tried to bring them to justice. But at least in those cases, they didn’t allow a guilty person to get off lightly.
We’re sure that you were under intense pressure to get this out of the national news cycle and bring things to an end. But what this plea deal does is send the message to all citizens here in Nashville, that there’s one set of laws for the police and the Black community and another set of laws for the police and the white community. Can you truthfully say that a Black cop who shot a white man in the back while running away would get the same opportunity to plead to a lesser charge and get a light sentence? Hell No!
All we can hope from you in the future is that you stick to what you said while running for office, that you truly planned to pursue a judicial agenda that won’t tolerate police misconduct, brutality or corruption and you represented all citizens irregardless of race, religion, color, sex or national origin.