NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Nashville police officer who was hired after fatally shooting someone as a security guard two years ago is now charged with second-degree murder in the shooting outside the restaurant where he worked.
Nathan Glass, the 26-year-old white officer, faces an indictment in the October 2018 death of Deangelo Knox, a 25-year-old Black man who was engaged in a shootout with another car outside the Nashville restaurant, named The Pharmacy. The indictment was filed in Davidson County Criminal Court on Thursday.
In the months ahead of the shooting, Glass had been admitted to the police academy and his entry into the program was paused due to the investigation into the incident, the police department said.
He was allowed to attend the academy in March 2019 after an assistant district attorney the month before determined prosecutors couldn’t overcome Glass’s claim of self-defense and defense of others because, among other things, surveillance video was “of insufficient quality” to confirm or contradict Glass’s statement that Knox’s gun was pointed in his direction.
“Every case is subject to review,” District Attorney Glenn Funk’s spokesperson Steve Hayslip said.
The prosecutor who made the determination, Pamela Anderson, no longer works in the district attorney’s office as of a couple of weeks ago, Hayslip confirmed. He did not specify the reason for her departure.
Knox’s mother, Angela Dotson-Heard, said she had continued to raise questions about the shooting.
“Something just didn’t seem right and I wanted justice for my son,” Dotson-Heard said during a news conference Thursday with the NAACP of Nashville. “So today, when they arrested (Glass), that made me feel a whole lot better. I feel like I can heal now.”
Glass, meanwhile, was decommissioned of his policing authority on Oct. 27 by Interim Police Chief John Drake, pending an investigation by the Office of Professional Accountability into social media posts by Glass in 2013 brought up in a prior NAACP news conference on Oct. 20. Joy Kimbrough, an attorney representing the Knox family, had printouts of posts she said are about violence, guns and shooting and racist material.
Police say they were unaware of the posts and are now reviewing how they would have factored into Glass’s hiring. The chief is also looking into the process that put Glass in the police academy. Glass had no disciplinary record while on the force, police said.
During the October 2018 incident, police have said Knox was “exchanging fire with the occupants of an Impala” and Glass “fired at Knox after Knox crashed and headed toward him with gun in hand.”
In a lawsuit over Knox’s killing, his family says three unknown assailants fired at Knox from a separate car, then Knox crashed his car into a parked car and got out as the gunfire continued. Knox fired his gun back at them and “tried to extricate himself from this dangerous and life-threatening situation by running,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit says Glass, who was inside The Pharmacy restaurant, opened the door and shot and killed Knox “without provocation or threat.”
“The shooting was unjustifiable,” NAACP of Nashville President Sheryl Guinn said during the news conference Thursday. “He had no reason to be in that situation at all. Nathan Glass was in a restaurant and all he needed to do was secure the restaurant and call the police.”
The attorney defending Glass, David Raybin, pointed to the former assistant district attorney’s assessment in not pursuing charges the first time. Anderson wrote that Knox’s gun was pointed in the direction of the “restaurant/patio area.”
Glass has been released on a $50,000 bond, and Raybin said he would plead not guilty.
“The District Attorney’s Office had earlier conducted an extensive review of this case and concluded that ‘the video does corroborate that Mr. Glass had a reasonable belief that his life and the lives of others were at risk,’” Raybin wrote in a statement. “We agree with that assessment.”