SHOCKING new bodycam footage shows the moment cops shot dead a 17-year-old student inside a school bathroom – but none of the officers involved will face criminal charges.
Anthony Thompson Jr. was a student at Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, when he was shot dead by police on April 12.
Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen said on Wednesday that she determined the shooting was “justifiable” under Tennessee’s self-defense law and no charges would be filed.
Police had been responding to a domestic violence complaint made by the mother of Thompson's ex-girlfriend when the fatal incident unfolded.
Four officers went into a bathroom where they believed Thompson was. The teen was carrying a handgun, though the officers were unaware at the time, Allen said.
The video then shows the officers attempting to handcuff Thompson.
One officer grabbed Thompson’s right arm, but his left arm was in his sweatshirt pocket where he was holding a handgun, the video shows.
The barrel of the weapon could be seen peeking through the pocket of his sweatshirt.
Thompson’s gun went off, hitting a trash can but not any of the officers.
The shot confused the officers into thinking their lives were in danger and one of them was potentially injured, Allen said — pointing to the various statements they later gave investigators.
Officer Jonathon Clabough can be seen removing his weapon and shooting Thompson in the shoulder in response.
The cop fires his weapon again as Thompson falls to the ground with the officers surrounding him.
Clabough’s second shot accidentally hit police Officer Adam Wilson in the leg.
A second unnamed student was in a bathroom stall at the time time of the shooting.
The footage shows an officer handcuff that student, who could be heard screaming for officers to tend to Thompson’s injuries because he could see blood coming from Thompson’s body.
Allen said the officers did not know Thompson had been shot until two minutes after handcuffing him and turning over his body.
After noticing large amounts of blood, the officers call the school nurse for medical assistance.
A medical examiner report showed that, because of the way Clabough shot Thompson, there was nothing the officers or school nurse could have done to save his life.
Knoxville Police Chief Eve Thomas said in a statement that she was thankful the investigation determined that her officers’ actions were justified and “cleared of any wrongdoing.”
The newly released video clarifies what transpired in the bathroom after conflicting accounts from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
In a news conference shortly after the shooting, TBI Director David Rausch said Thompson had fired shots as officers entered the bathroom, striking an officer.
Two days later, the TBI changed its statement, saying the student’s gun was fired during a struggle with school resource officer Adam Willson, who was wounded.
The TBI’s second statement said the officer was not shot with Thompson’s gun.
The conflicting statements helped fuel activists, political leaders, and media outlets to demand that Allen’s office publicly release the police body camera video after she initially resisted.
Allen was eventually forced to hand over the footage by a judge, who agreed with city officials and media outlets that the tape should be released.
“My preference would not to do this today, but I’m under pressure from you (the media), from politicians, and activists groups,” she said. “I get it. You should be able to see the video. I just think the timing, we have to come up with a better process.”
Allen said during a press conference that Thompson's family had begged her not to release the tapes.
Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon said she had reached out to Thompson’s family to express her sympathy but they did not want to meet with her.
“My heart goes out to the family of Anthony Thompson Jr. and also the other families of children who have lost their lives in other circumstances, all in such a short time all from the same school. It’s heartbreaking,” she said.
Thompson's family is being represented by civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who posted about the shooting before the press conference on Wednesday.
"Regina Perkins didn't approve of her daughter's relationship with 17yo Black teen Anthony Thompson Jr, so she called 911. And what did Knoxville Police Department – TN do? They swarmed Anthony's high school and fatally shot him in the bathroom!" Crump wrote.
"Now Regina says she regrets her 911 call. CLEARLY. Another call to police leading to excessive force and another dead Black teen… this was CLEARLY PREVENTABLE."
Perkins, meanwhile, contests that Thompson was abusive to her daughter, and even once threatened her with a 9mm pistol.
She told the Knoxville News Sentinel that she does, however, regret calling the police.
"Alexus told me that she was grabbed and that her hair was pulled, and that is really what led me to feel that I needed to do more," she said.
Perkins added that she attempted to contact Thompson's mother before dialing 911 but to no avail.
"I am so sorry and I never meant for anything to happen to him," Perkins said.
"We are mourning. My daughter is grieving the loss of her first love and we also want answers and justice in this case."
Attorney's representing the officer involved in the shooting commended Allen for her decision on Wednesday.
"We look forward to returning to our duties and serving the city of Knoxville once again," the statement reads.
The officers have been on paid leave since the shooting.
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