PHOTO GALLERY: Protesters challenge DA’s decision

Protesters gather outside KPD headquarters Wednesday. All photos by Jennifer Stambaugh.

Immediately following press conferences held by District Attorney General Charme Allen and Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon, enraged crowds began to gather downtown and in East Knoxville. 

They were angry at the news that none of the officers involved in the shooting death of 17-year-old Anthony Thompson Jr. would be charged criminally.

One group of protesters met in front of the Knoxville Police Department headquarters and were soon joined by another group who marched from Austin-East Magnet High School. 

When the group of marchers arrived at the station the two groups combined and began yelling profanities at officers watching the crowd from the building’s roof.  

Activists Constance Every and David Hayes addressed the group of protesters and discussed the planned action for the night.  

“We are here for one reason, justice for Anthony,” Every said. “They murdered that little boy …. Anthony didn’t get to tell his stories. Anthony didn’t get to do anything but sit in the bathroom and get murdered.”

Anthony Thompson Jr.’s father then briefly addressed the crowd, thanking them for showing support for the teen’s family. 

Protesters then marched around downtown and Cumberland Avenue. 

A new chant at this protest  — “Fuck me, help him!”— were the words of a young man who saw Thompson’s shooting and then begged in vain for officers to administer medical attention to his friend. The  dozens of marchers were accompanied by a parade of cars spanning several blocks. Drivers honked horns while their passengers hung out windows waving “Black Lives Matter” signs and calling for “Justice for Anthony.”   

Several water bottles were thrown and a couple of fights nearly broke out between protesters and onlookers who disagreed with them.