Nika Holbert, 31, killed in shootout during a traffic stop in Nashville
Police were looking for a suspect not present in the car
The Metro Nashville Police released body and dashboard camera video from a deadly shootout that killed Nika Holbert, 31, and left officer Josh Baker injured. A bullet allegedly fired by Hobert struck below Bakers.
Baker pulled over Holbert for driving a Chevy Camaro belonging to a felon wanted on six outstanding drug warrants, vest. Baker tried to arrest Holbert after finding a powdery substance in her bag, but she jumped back in the car.
After Baker Tasered Holbert, she pulled a semi-automatic pistol and shot the officer, who returned fire. Source: Daily Mail
The basis for stopping Holbert and the ensuing shootout
The basis for the stop was that the owner of the vehicle, Demond Buchanan, had multiple warrants for drug offenses. A review of the video shows that once the police approached the car, it was immediately apparent that Buchanan was not in the vehicle; the basis for the stop dissipated.
It is unclear whether the police had a legal rationale for searching Holbert’s property or even detaining her once the officers determined that Buchanan was not present. Police are allowed to do weapon searches when it is reasonably determined that the suspect is engaged in some criminal activity. Still, it is not clear from the video that such suspicion was warranted. The discovery of the alleged drugs came after the purpose of the stop had dissipated. It is also unclear whether the contraband was in plain sight thus allowing police to continue their search.
However, even if the expanded search was deemed illegal, Holbert was not entitled to use her weapon. Once she brandished the pistol, the police were likely permitted to use deadly force. It is a tragedy for Holbert and her family members and loved ones.