KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Knoxvillians Against Injustice group held a rally and protest at Market Square and the city council meeting Tuesday evening in response to the officer-involved shooting that left one man dead Monday.
The “Rally Against Police Violence” event began at the Historic Market Square in downtown Knoxville at 5 p.m. The Facebook event describes the rally as an invitation for people to come together “to speak out against police brutality.”
A 33-year-old Knoxville man, Channara Tom Pheap, was shot and killed after a physical altercation with a Knoxville police officer who responded to a reported hit-and-run in the 1700 block of Merchant Drive Monday evening.
Knoxville police and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office were investigating the incident Monday. KCSO has taken over the investigation since the shooting involved a KPD officer.
The rally on Tuesday evening began at Market Square, then, event organizers began to march with rally attendees to the City-County building to attend the Tuesday night city council meeting.
As the rally began Tuesday evening, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero released a statement:
I want to address the officer-involved shooting last night. We are deeply saddened by Mr. Pheap’s death. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his family and his friends.Madeline Rogero, Knoxville mayor
We know that an outcome like this is devastating to the community and to our Knoxville police officers. Our thoughts are with the officer who was injured last night as well.
It is unfortunate that so much misinformation has been circulated about this tragic incident. I urge everyone to remain calm and withhold judgment until the investigation is completed and we are aware of all of the facts.
While I can’t speak about the specifics of last night’s shooting until the completion of the investigation, I want to explain the process.
By agreement among the Knox County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO), Knoxville Police Department (KPD), and the Knox County District Attorney General (DA), any shooting involving a KPD officer is criminally investigated by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, and vice versa. The intent is to remove any potential of partiality or bias.
Once the Sheriff’s Office concludes its investigation, the findings will be presented to the DA, who will review the investigation and determine whether any criminal charges will be filed.
The officer who was involved in last night’s shooting will remain on administrative leave pending the DA’s review. That is standard policy.
Once the DA completes her review of the investigation, KPD’s Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) will conduct an additional investigation to determine whether the officer violated any departmental policies.
Once that IAU investigation is concluded, its findings will be reviewed by the citizens’ Police Advisory & Review Committee.
I know we are all awaiting the completion of these investigations. But please understand that gathering the facts and getting to the truth takes time. I urge everyone to be patient.
WATE 6 On Your Side is working to learn more and will bring you the latest as details are made available.