On April 12, Knoxville police shot and killed a 17-year-old Black man, Anthony Thompson, Jr., in the bathroom of Austin-East Magnet High School. Thompson allegedly got into an altercation with his girlfriend when her mother, Regina Perkins, called the police.
The police who fired his gun will not be charged for Thompson’s death. Despite hopes that the ruling in the Derek Chauvin case would send a legal precedent for other instances of police brutality, this verdict shows that the assumption holds little weight.
“I was surprised with the decision of no charges being filed, like I said, because, I feel like as a country, we’ve made progress when it comes to holding those officers accountable. And so for Knoxville to take a step back after yesterday, it’s disappointing,” Denzel Grant, a Knoxville resident told, Knox News .
Moments before Thompson’s death, body camera footage revealed that four officers—Jonathon Clabough, Brandon Wilson, Stanley Cash and Andrew Willson—surrounded the teenager and dragged him out of the stall while Thompson’s best friend sat one stall over.
During the altercation between police and Thompson, Clabough believed he saw a gun in Thompson’s hoodie “with [his] hand on the butt.” When the gun fired, Clabough thought that Baldwin was injured. Consequently, Clabough fired a shot at Thompson’s chest.
Then, he fired another shot. That time, he hit the teen in his thigh. At this point, Cash placed himself on top of Thompson while he was bleeding out, facedown on the floor.
Although both the school nurse and paramedics attempted to offer aid, Thompson was pronounced dead on the scene.
Clabough not only killed Thompson but he also shot his fellow officer, Charme Allen. Still, the Knox County District Attorney determined that Clabough was justified in his shooting under self-defense laws in the state.
“This is a self-defense case,” said Allen.
As a result of the decision, Knoxville residents quickly turned to the streets in protest. For many of these residents, justice will not be served until, like Chauvin, these four officers are charged with nothing less than murder.