KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The attorney, who represents the family of Lisa Edwards, issued a statement to the Knoxville Police Department’s internal affairs investigation that was released on Wednesday.
In the statement, Attorney Devon M. Jacob with Jacob Litigation called out the department’s culture and “[Knoxville Police Chief Paul Noel’s] failure of supervision.” Contrary to what the medical examiner released, the statement claims that the officer’s actions and refusal to provide Edwards with medical care contributed significantly to her death.
According to the statement, Jacob believes there was no excuse for Noel to have “just noticed the callous and unlawful culture” in the department when officers are recorded every day by body cameras.
Jacob called on Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon to “exhibit leadership” and asked for Noel to resign.
The statement said the culture in the department under Noel’s leadership has been one where the “indifference to citizen’s constitutional rights of citizens is both permitted and the norm.” Jacob adds that the “failure” of supervision that Noel noted was “his own failure.”
Read the full statement below.
In the internal affairs investigation report, a spokesperson for the department said the most senior of the officers investigated had been demoted, and two others were suspended without pay for 10 days and four days respectively.
When the report was released, Noel said, “When making my disciplinary decision, I considered two significant outside factors that bookended this situation… the first was that our response and subsequent actions followed a larger systemic failure… the second factor is the Medical Examiner’s autopsy report…”
The fourth officer who was investigated was not found to be in violation of any departmental policies and returned to his previous assignment.
Roughly a month after Lisa Edwards’ death, Jacob said that once he gathered all the information, he expected a lawsuit to be filed against at least the hospital and police.