Family of man shot, killed by officer in 2019 sues Knoxville
The family of a man who was shot and killed by police in 2019 is suing the City of Knoxville and its police chief Eve Thomas.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The family of a man who was shot and killed by police in 2019 is suing the City of Knoxville and its police chief Eve Thomas, and several others.
According to a release, the lawsuit was filed August 26, 2020 by the family of Channara T. “Philly” Pheap. The family is seeking “compensation for Mr. Pheap’s death” not exceeding $10 million.
Pheap was shot and killed while allegedly running away from KPD officer Dylan M. Williams on August 26, 2019, according to the lawsuit. Williams is named in the suit as well as multiple other defendants known only as John and Jane Does.
According to KPD, officer Williams was investigating after a hit and run incident involving Pheap. Investigators said police responded to 1716 Merchants Drive and while there, Williams said he got in an altercation with a suspect, which led him to shoot Pheap.
The lawsuit states the Knox County Medical examiner determined that the bullet that killed Pheap entered his body through his back and exited through his chest, indicating he was shot in the back.
KPD reported that the evidence showed Pheap was not shot in the back but rather in the side. On November 7, the Knox County District Attorney’s Office said Williams was justified in the shooting. Williams was not charged in the incident.
The lawsuit is challenging the training KPD officers have when responding to incidents with “deadly force.” It also sites ‘bias’ in the complaint.
“Our complaint alleges, and we intend to prove, that this investigation of a minor traffic incident was escalated unnecessarily by this officer-first to a fight, and ultimately to the decision to draw and fire on a fleeing man,” said Joshua Hedrick, representative for the Pheap family.
This officer-involved shooting was prevalent in sparking members of the community to call for body cameras in KPD officers.
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