Police: Officers involved in teen’s shooting followed policy
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee police department’s internal investigation of four officers involved in the fatal shooting of a high school student found that they followed procedures.
The investigation concluded that the force used by Knoxville police when 17-year-old Anthony Thompson Jr. was fatally shot on April 12, 2021, at Austin-East Magnet High School abided by the department’s policy, Chief Paul Noel told news outlets Wednesday. The only breach of procedure was when one officer did not turn on his body camera, which resulted in a reprimand, Noel said.
“Based upon my review of this case and my 25 years in law enforcement, the use of force and actions of our officers were justified and they were policy of the Knoxville Police Department,” Noel said. “I absolutely feel that our officers handled this very chaotic situation in the best way they possibly could.”
Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen decided last year that that shooting was “justifiable” under Tennessee’s self-defense law.
According to video of the incident, four officers responded to the school after a domestic abuse call from the mother of Thompson’s former girlfriend. The officers went into a bathroom and attempted to handcuff Thompson. One officer grabbed Thompson’s right arm, but Thompson’s left arm was in his sweatshirt pocket where the video shows he was holding a handgun. Thompson’s weapon went off, hitting a trash can and confusing the officers into thinking their lives were in danger.
Officer Johnathan Clabough can be seen removing his weapon and shooting Thompson.
Noel called Thompson’s death a tragedy.
“The findings of our investigation in no way diminish how deeply saddened we are about what happened,” Noel said.