KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville Police Department spokesperson said an internal investigation is underway after an off-duty officer attending a wedding reception was knocked unconscious for allegedly making racist remarks to another attendee.

Just before 9 p.m. on June 26, officers arrived at 400 W. Jackson Ave. to investigate a reported simple assault and found emergency personnel treating an unconscious person in the parking lot. Investigators say 22-year-old Tanner Holt, an off-duty Knoxville Police officer, was knocked unconscious after reportedly telling a Black man that he, “didn’t know they let Black people in the reception hall.”

An incident report also alleges Holt, a white man, also told the man that he (Holt) was part of the Black community. An incident report states that Holt continued to make racial remarks despite the man telling him several times to stop talking about race.

Four witnesses corroborated accounts of the incident, though one witness admitted they did not hear what was being said. All witnesses stated that Holt was very intoxicated when the incident occurred.

Holt was transported to UT Medical Center for treatment. No charges have been filed in the incident.

A KPD spokesperson said the allegations were immediately reported to supervisors and Chief Eve Thomas requested an Internal Affairs investigation. That investigation remains ongoing, the spokesperson said.

Holt has not returned to patrol since the incident while recovering from his injuries. KPD Public Information Officer Scott Erland said it is unknown at this time when he will be cleared to return to work.

“He has been out since the incident occurred while recovering from the injuries he sustained. It is unknown at this time when he will be cleared to return to work. His current assignment is patrol in the West District. A decision will be made regarding his assignment when he is cleared to return while the investigation proceeds.”

Scott Erland, Knoxville Police Department

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