KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville police reform activist and former city council candidate has been acquitted of charges that led to his arrest outside of a city meeting last year.

Nzinga Bayano Amani was found not guilty of obstructing a highway or other passageway by a jury on Tuesday stemming from demonstrations in April 2021 following the death of 17-year-old Anthony Thompson Jr., who was shot by a Knoxville police officer in a high school bathroom.

A charge of inciting a riot was dismissed last year.

Amani, formerly known as David Hayes, was arrested outside a public meeting regarding the search for a new Chief of Police in January 2022.

Knoxville state representative Sam McKenzie was among many who questioned why Amani, who uses they/them pronouns, was arrested at a public forum months later despite making numerous public appearances over that time as a candidate for city council.

They have filed a federal lawsuit asserting their civil rights were violated and alleging that officers used excessive and unreasonable force during the arrest. Amani said that they were punched and pinned against a wall by deputies.

The lawsuit names the City of Knoxville, Knox County, and several law enforcement officers.