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Knoxville officer knocked unconscious after allegedly making racist remarks

An internal investigation has been opened after a KPD officer allegedly made racist remarks while off duty.
Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 2:23 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 8, 2021 at 10:10 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Knoxville Police Department Internal Affairs investigators are conducting an investigation following an incident involving a KPD officer. The officer, who was off duty at the time, was allegedly knocked unconscious after making racist comments to another person.

A KPD officer responded to a simple assault at an Old City parking lot just before 9 p.m. on June 26 where he found Knoxville Fire Department and American Medical Response officials treating an unconscious person, a report from KPD says.

Off-duty KPD officer Tanner Holt had attended a wedding with the suspect, Jonathan Toney. The two were speaking in the parking lot when the assault occurred, witnesses told the responding officer. According to the report, Toney said Holt commented that he “didn’t know they let black people in the reception hall.”

Holt, who is white, then told Toney that he was “part of the black community,” the report says. Toney stated that he told Officer Holt to stop speaking about race multiple times, but Holt refused.

Toney told officers he then punched Holt in the face one time, knocking him unconscious, the report stated. Two witnesses confirmed the story, and a third said she did not hear what was said, but witnessed the assault, officials say. According to the report, all witnesses said Holt was heavily intoxicated during the incident.

Holt was transported to the hospital via AMR, the report stated.

KPD’s Public Information Officer confirmed to WVLT News that Internal Affairs is conducting an investigation into the incident at the request of police chief Eve Thomas. Officials said the officer has been out of work while he recovers from, “serious injuries” sustained during the incident.

According to KPD officials, the officer is currently assigned to patrol the West District, but, “a decision will be made regarding his assignment/status when he is cleared to return while IAU investigation is ongoing.”

KPD said it is unclear when Holt will be medically cleared to return to work. According to KPD, there were no arrests made and no charges have been filed in relation to the incident.

The investigation is ongoing.

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