KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — On Monday, a vigil and balloon release was held in honor of a Knoxville man died in Knoxville Police custody. His family is now looking for answers about the death of Robert Bailey.
About 20 people, including his family, gathered near where Bailey was arrested in East Knoxville to honor his life. Bailey, a father, was just 41 years old.
“January 6, 2022, Robert Nathaniel Bailey, I am confident, unnecessarily died,” asserted Rev. Calvin Skinner.
Knoxville Police reports Bailey was being taken to jail after being arrested last Thursday and in the transportation van, Bailey became unresponsive. He was declared dead at the hospital a short time later.
Constance Every, a local activist, said, “Mr. Bailey’s final call was to his mother, and I would like to believe that his mother would know better than anyone if her son was under any form of influence. As far as she’s concerned, her son was in perfectly good health and sound mind. He was headed to wherever he was minding his own business before the cops pulled him over.”
“I’m tired of seeing children not having their fathers. I’m tired of seeing situations I think could be avoidable. We’ll see about this one but it’s about the family, it’s about supporting the family,” said Tennessee State Representative Sam McKenzie.
“The family has not seen any video footage. They have not seen any information as far as cause of death, a hard solidified cause of death. They have not been told who the arresting officers were,” said Every.
“There are differences when law enforcement come into my district and deal with a young or old, African-American man as opposed to dealing with people of the majority community. I think just training, just the sensitivity you know,” added McKenzie.
The TBI is investigating the death of Bailey.