Tennessee editorial roundup
Recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:
The Tennessean on a Nashville police officer charged in the shooting death of a black man:
Nashville Police Officer Andrew Delke deserves a fair trial.
What we know is that he shot and killed Daniel Hambrick on July 26 after a pursuit in North Nashville.
The issue is: Was he justified to do so?
District Attorney General Glenn Funk, who filed homicide charges against Delke, thinks he wasn’t.
Judge Michael Mondelli granted his request based on the evidence.
It is an outcome that is disheartening to those who support Delke.
But the public and the Hambrick family, especially, deserve to see the evidence and hear the arguments in court.
True, an affidavit states that Hambrick held a gun when Delke pursued him.
But was Delke justified in pursuing him?
And was Hambrick a danger to police and the public?
The video footage of the shooting is disconcerting and, at the very least, calls into question Delke’s judgment.
The shooting inflamed tensions between Nashville’s African-American community and the police — which have been simmering for decades of injustice, abuse of power and mistrust.
Delke is white; Hambrick was black.
The lack of charges in the 2017 killing of Jocques Clemmons, a black man, by a white police officer in East Nashville further stoked those flames.
People want justice.
But mob rule, malleable public opinion and social media commentary should never replace a trial.
The arrest of Delke, given the evidence, was the right thing to do to start the wheels of justice.
It does not mean he is guilty. Our system demands that he should be presumed innocent until otherwise proven.
And, while he will serve as a symbol for communities long aggrieved by police brutality and abuse of power, this case should be about Delke and his actions.
Did he abuse his power? Did he overstep his authority? Did he unlawfully kill Daniel Hambrick?
Let us see our justice system through.
Johnson City Press on Donald Trump appearing at packed rally in Johnson City:
Congratulations, Johnson City. For the second time in less than one month, you’ve demonstrated just how mostly civil you can be during a high-profile, hot-button event with large crowds.
On Monday, you showed that civility to the whole world, shining a positive light on Johnson City and Northeast Tennessee.
As thousands upon thousands of people descended on Freedom Hall Civic Center either to praise or protest the presence of President Donald Trump, there were no significant incidents to mar the historic visit. Plenty of verbal sparring — some of it vulgar — took place as Trump supporters passed the hundreds of demonstrators at and around Freedom Hall, but overall, people on both sides largely remained calm. Johnson City police reported no arrests.
Given just how divided the country is over the president and politics in general, it’s to this region’s credit that such a large number of people could exercise their rights of assembly and free speech without unrest. Regardless of caustic partisan messages inside or outside the arena, Johnson City came away without a scratch.
We saw the same outcome Sept. 15 when thousands of LGBTQ citizens and their allies gathered in downtown Johnson City for the inaugural TriPride parade and festival. That event unfortunately required an equally heavy police presence resulting from threats picked up by the FBI. But both the parade and the festival went off little more than barbs from a half-dozen protesters.
If only our nation could demonstrate such good behavior — without heavy police protection — in everything we do, from social media chat to the floors of Congress. Restoring respectful discourse to our daily conversations would go a long way toward moving us off center on the important issues facing the nation, including health care, gun violence, immigration and more inclusive economic prosperity.
Instead, we vilify one another to extremes not seen in decades. Our behavior is holding us back at every turn.
But for Johnson City, Monday’s national spotlight was thankfully better than what beset Charlottesville, Virginia, last year. For one day at least, we could agree to disagree without unpleasant circumstances.