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Knox Co. DA withholding body cam footage of Austin-East shooting ‘to protect integrity of the case’

Allen explained, if criminal charges are filed the bodycam footage would be protected until trial.
Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 11:55 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 15, 2021 at 11:58 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen held a press conference Thursday morning to explain her office’s decision in declining Mayor Indya Kincannon’s request for the body cam footage in the Austin-East shooting.

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Allen said she understands that the community, the press and the citizens want to see the body cam footage of this case.

“I want to show you the video,” Allen said.

Allen said her priority is to protect the criminal potential of the case and her office “has to protect the due process of law.” According to Allen, the video footage will be released at some point, but it must be done “at the appropriate time.”

There are many factors that impact when the video can be cleared to the public. According to Allen, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation must complete its investigation. At this time, the Austin-East shooting incident is still an active investigation.

TBI agents said they are still conducting interviews, collecting evidence and taking witness statements.

Allen said if the video were released now, it could violate a law that would not allow the footage to be used in trial, if the case goes to trial.

“If we can’t use that evidence to hold them accountable, the evidence is no good,” Allen said.

When the investigation is complete, Allen said officials will determine whether the shooting death of 17-year-old Anthony Thompson Jr. was a lawful or unlawful homicide.

Allen explained, if criminal charges are filed the bodycam footage would be protected until trial. During the trial, the video would be released as evidence.

If officials determine the shooting was a ”justifiable homicide,” an open press conference would be held where all evidence would be shared and explained.

Allen stressed that, per her office policy, the family will be allowed to view body camera video before it will be released to the community and media.

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