KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An encounter between the 15-year-old sister of a teen killed by a police officer at Austin-East High School and Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputies on Monday evening is getting a lot of online attention, with accounts differing as to what happened.
The finger-pointing began with a post on social media claiming that three deputies went to McAlister’s Deli on Schaad Road for a bite to eat and were refused service. Commenters were outraged and the story quickly went viral within the Knoxville community.
According to an attorney for the teen’s family, the 15-year-old was fired from McAlisters on Wednesday afternoon.
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The Knox County Sheriff’s Office released a statement Tuesday saying “a cashier refused to take the order of one of the deputies” and calling it “unfortunate” and “an isolated incident in our community.”
The deputies involved in this incident have not yet been identified, although WATE has reached out to KCSO for their names.
On Wednesday, that cashier’s mother — Chanada Robinson — shared a statement through her lawyer. Robinson is the mother of Anthony Thompson Jr., who was shot and killed by a police officer inside a bathroom at Austin-East Magnet High School in 2021.
“The cashier in this story is my 15-year-old daughter. Near the end of her shift, she faced a line of customers and still had other work to do before she could go home, so she asked her co-worker to help. She intended no offense. Our family has been traumatized by the loss of my son, Anthony. All she did was ask for help from a co-worker.” Robinson said in her statement.
Robison said the accusations are untrue, and as a result of those accusations her 15-year-old is being cyber-bullied.
“I am proud of my daughter for holding a job while going to high school, and I am proud of my daughter for asking for help when needed,” Robinson continued.
A McAlister’s Deli spokesperson shared a statement with WATE 6 on Tuesday.
“At McAlister’s Deli, we value each of our guests and are committed to treating all with honor, dignity and respect. We have the utmost appreciation for law enforcement officers and are proud to serve all of our community heroes, and this incident is not reflective of our brand and our values. This location is independently owned, and the franchisee has been working closely with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office to rectify the situation.” the spokesperson said.
EDITORS NOTE: This story has been updated with new information.