Officer Nicholas Diamond

(Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, Tennessee)

Early in the morning on February 2, 2017, Officer Eric Mumaw responded to a frantic call from parents regarding their suicidal daughter. The parents informed him that their daughter was at a local boat launch and she was threatening to drive her vehicle into the Cumberland River. Officer Mumaw responded, along with Officers Trent Craig and Nicholas Diamond. Through the darkness, they were able to see a vehicle at the bottom of the boat ramp. The brake lights were activated, and the front wheels of the vehicle were at the water’s edge.

The officers approached the suicidal woman’s vehicle, and observed that she was inside and several containers of beer were visible. Some were empty and some were unopened. The vehicle’s windows were closed and the doors were locked. Officer Craig made contact with the woman at the driver’s door. He engaged her in conversation, which led her to open the window to facilitate more direct communication. By directly communicating with the woman, he was able to determine that she was likely under the influence of alcohol. Despite the officers’ efforts to encourage the woman to turn off the engine and exit the vehicle, she put the vehicle in gear and began to drive into the water. She subsequently resisted any efforts by the officers to stop her vehicle.

Officer Mumaw, while walking behind the vehicle, stumbled off the end of the submerged boat ramp and unexpectedly plunged into the water that was later determined to be approximately 40 degrees Fahrenheit. He was immediately carried toward the middle of the river by the current. Officer Diamond also stumbled off the boat ramp and fell into the water.

Officer Mumaw tried to fight the current while battling the chill of the water as he struggled to stay afloat and swim back to the boat ramp. Officer Diamond began to swim back to the boat ramp, but heard Officer Mumaw struggling and asking for help. Officer Diamond turned and swam back to Officer Mumaw. By this time, both officers were showing signs of fatigue and the cold water was having a demonstrable effect on their dexterity. Officer Diamond reached Officer Mumaw, took hold of him, and tried to swim him back to the boat ramp. Due to fatigue, diminishing dexterity, and the strength of the current, he was unable to maintain his hold on Officer Mumaw. Officer Mumaw slipped away in the darkness. Officer Diamond did not have the strength to swim back to the boat ramp, so he opted to simply travel with the current and try to make it to the river bank. Ultimately he was able to grab a tree branch and pull himself to shore. Officer Craig was able to locate Officer Diamond clinging to the tree.

Despite their heroic efforts, neither Officer Diamond nor Officer Craig was able to save Officer Mumaw, whose body was recovered a short time later down river. All three officers acted courageously and decisively to save the life of the suicidal subject. Nashville Fire Department personnel after arriving on the scene, located the suicidal subject who has escaped the care and swam to the river’s edge. She was taken to the hospital in stable condition. The decision by Officer Diamond, who was also suffering from the effects of the frigid water, to change direction and swim out further in the water to try and reach Officer Mumaw, represents the highest level of bravery and self-sacrifice to save the life of a fellow officer.

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