KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s been a time of anguish for the Knoxville community. One week ago, Knoxville Police Department officers were called to Austin-East High School for a report of someone with a gun. That person was identified as 17-year-old Anthony J. Thompson Junior.
Investigators said Thompson refused to come out of the bathroom and there was a struggle. At some point, both Officer Adam Wilson and Thompson were shot. Thompson died from his injuries. Knoxville Mayor, Indya Kincannon, held a press conference on Monday. She stated this type of violence happens far too often.
“This is the fifth Austin-East High School student to lose their life to gun violence just since January. Our angst is compounded by the national stories of officer-involved shootings and the erosion of trust between law enforcement and the communities they pledge to protect and serve,” said Kincannon.
Now, the community is demanding the bodycam video from officers inside the bathroom become public. Cameras which were just deployed a few weeks ago.
“We ask the public to report crimes… we ask the public to call in emergencies and to share information about past and potential crimes. But trust is a two-way street… and accountability is essential to trust. One of my first acts as mayor was to call for body-worn cameras,” said Kincannon.
Kincannon said she pursued these cameras as another tool to build public trust and to be transparent with the community.
“Transparency also means timely… not six or 18 months later but as soon after an incident as possible,” stated Kincannon.
On Monday, Nationally renowned Civil Rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented the families of Trayvon Martin and George Floyd announced he will also represent Thompson’s family and advocate for justice. Justice, Kincannon is also searching for.
Kincannon said, “Our District Attorney General sought a court order in 2019 to maintain control of evidence in a criminal proceeding. When I spoke to General Allen after the incident, she maintained that this court order prohibited me from releasing the video. I disagree with this interpretation.”
“On Friday, we filed a petition with the Knox County Criminal Court to allow us to release the video. I am hopeful and confident that we will succeed. We will not rest until we are able to release the video. The public has a right to see the video. KPD officers should be held accountable based on their actions, not rumor,” stated Kincannon.
This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.
Officer Wilson was discharged from the hospital on Friday. Three of the four officers involved in the incident released a statement in support of releasing the body camera footage.
A spokesperson with Knox County Schools reports Austin-East Magnet High School students will be screened by metal detector wands upon return to in-person instruction.
Students at Austin-East are scheduled to return to in-person instruction on Thursday.