Anthony Thompson, a 17-year-old student at Austin-East Magnet High School in Tennessee was shot and killed by a police officer in a bathroom at the school on Monday, April 12. But the story which followed immediately that Thompson had fired at and hurt an officer may not be true.
Only two days after saying the bullet which wounded the officer was from Thompson’s handgun, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) released another statement on Wednesday, April 14 saying: “Preliminary examinations indicate the bullet that struck the KPD officer was not fired from the student’s handgun”.
Thompson appeared to have hidden in the restroom as police officers came to his school. The TBI said the officers were responding to a report that there was a gunman on the school’s premises. The statement two days earlier had claimed that “[a]s officers entered the restroom, the subject reportedly fired shots, striking an officer”.
Now, the TBI says shots fired from Thompson’s gun were as a result of a struggle between the officer and the teenager. The wounded officer was shot by another officer.
But even with this development and in spite of the calls from Thompson’s family and other residents, the TBI, the Knoxville Police Department and the Knox County District Attorney General’s Office have reportedly refused to release bodycam footage from the altercation. According to Tennessee state laws, authorities can choose to do this while investigations are ongoing.
Calls to have the bodycam footage publicized are also coming from three of the four police officers who had answered the call to Austin-East Magnet High School. The three officers are currently under investigation.
The mayor of Knoxville, Indya Kincannon, treated the calls by the officers as “an effort to accurately inform the public”. The mayor’s office has also backed these calls because “the public interest is best served by the immediate release of these videos”.