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Knoxville’s mayor, Indya Kincannon, said in a statement on Wednesday that she was “relieved” the footage had been shared. “This information, while imperative for transparency, is not easy to watch,” she said.
But lawyers representing Mr. Thompson’s family argued that his death could have been avoided.
“When a suspect is a person of color, there is no attempt to de-escalate the situation,” Ben Crump, the prominent civil rights lawyer who has been hired by many families of people killed by the police, including the Floyd family, said in a statement after he was retained by Mr. Thompson’s family. “Police shoot first and ask questions later, time after time, because Black lives are afforded less value.”
Over the last week, Mr. Thompson’s name has been added to a list displayed on posters and chanted in demonstrations, a collection of young people killed by gunfire. Dozens gathered recently in a park down the street from Austin-East, and families shared stories of the relatives they had lost.
Ms. Taylor, Justin Taylor’s older sister, called her brother an “entrepreneur” who regularly woke up early to mow lawns for money. “He was very ambitious,” she said. “It’s very important to me that that lives on, that people know that about him, that people know he was a good student. Austin-East is not full of bad kids.”
The group took a meandering path through East Knoxville, carrying banners and wearing shirts commemorating those who had been killed. They passed homes with signs declaring school pride. “Pray for A.E. To be strong,” one said.
Sheenan Lundy, 36, burst out into school songs, with a chorus of voices joining her. I’m so glad I go to A.E. I’m so, so glad I go to A.E.
“Austin-East gives hope,” she said later. “It’s family oriented. It’s home. It’s love. It’s dedication. It’s pride. I could go on and on. It’s a special place. It’s a safe haven — no matter what they say about it.”
It had been that for her, a graduate in the Class of 2003. Ms. Lundy could see it becoming the same for her daughter, Shaniya Cherry, a 15-year-old ninth grader in the dance program who was recently elected Miss Freshman.