Knox County DA withholding Austin-East body camera video until investigation is complete

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Body camera video recorded during Monday’s officer-involved fatal shooting at Austin-East Magnet High School will be released, ‘at an appropriate time,” said Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen.

“As a human being, I understand that. I want to answer all your questions and show you that video,” Allen said Thursday during a press conference on the 4th floor of the City County Building. She went on to say that she has to make decisions like this from her role as a district attorney general instead.

Allen said the video “has to complete its function as criminal evidence” before it can even be considered for release.

Anthony J. Thompson, Jr, 17, died Monday after he being shot in a confrontation with Knoxville Police officers inside a bathroom at Austin-East Magnet High School on April 12. Police say Thompson, who was armed, was inside a bathroom and did not come out when asked. Police entered the bathroom, where there was a struggle. What happened is still under investigation but when it was over, an officer had been injured by a shot, and Thompson was shot to death.

“We are not even 72 hours out from the actual shooting,” Allen said, noting that interviews are ongoing and evidence is still being collected.

Not all of the officers involved in the shooting have given their statements at this time, she said.

“Releasing any evidence before we have it all may taint what’s being done,” Allen said.

Noting the right to due process and privacy, Allen outlined what procedures she follows when it comes to releasing evidence and videos to the public.

“Before anything is released, I would sit with that family, talk with that family, and let them view that video in the privacy of my office as many times as they wish before that video is released to the public,” she said.

Allen said her office is in contact with Thompson’s family and that they have expressed their gratitude that her office is meeting with them at each step of this process.

Earlier this week, Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon had asked for the body camera video to be released but was denied that request.

Four officers connected with that incident are on administrative leave. The officers have been identified as Officer Adam Willson, Lieutenant Stanley Cash, Officer Jonathon Clabough and Officer Brian Baldwin.

The investigation is led by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and is ongoing.

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