KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Representative Sam McKenzie (TN-15) issued a statement following the Knoxville Police Department’s internal investigation report in the Austin-East shooting that happened in April of 2021.
The internal investigation followed the police-involved shooting that led to the death of Austin-East student, 17-year-old Anthony Thompson Jr.
McKenzie issued a statement around 4:15 p.m. on Aug. 17, roughly two hours after the KPD and Knoxville’s press conference discussing the results of the internal investigation report.
“I hesitate to rush to judgment in affairs that are not under my direct control and I don’t have all of the information as to whether the shooting was justified or not. However, I strongly believe measures could have taken place that would have allowed KPD to de-escalate their response when entering the bathroom,” McKenzie said. “I sincerely hope KPD, the city of Knoxville, and the district attorney do not let the investigation end here. I think we can all agree that mistakes were made on all sides that led to this unfortunate event. I, along with the rest of the community, am waiting to hear further information regarding last year’s shooting.”
Knoxville Police Chief Paul Noel said during the press conference that the escalated event took place in 11 seconds, and officers did not go into the bathroom in a manner that would escalate the situation. The internal investigation found that the use of force was “justified.”
Noel also shared the findings of the Internal Affairs report. According to McKenzie, the investigation did state that the officers did not act quickly enough to provide first aid to Thompson following the shooting.