Jonathan Clabough, the Knoxville, Tennessee police officer who fatally wounded a teen in a school bathroom, will not be charged. Anthony J. Thompson Jr., 17, was killed after a struggle ensued between him and the officer on April 12 at Austin-East Magnet High School.
Knoxville District Attorney General Charme Allen announced last week that she determined that Clabough acted reasonably– citing that the trained professional felt that he and fellow officers’ lives were in danger when he shot the teen.
In that same press conference, she released the bodycam footage of the shooting. “This is a self-defense case,” Allen said at a two-hour news conference. “At the end of the day, we have found the shooting by Officer Clabough was justified.”
According to Knox News, the unfortunate event was the climax of an alleged serial domestic violence situation between Thompson and his ex-girlfriend. Her mother, after checking her daughter out of school for the day, Regina Perkins called the Knoxville police to report the abuse, and the police eventually showed up at the high school and found Thompson hiding in the stalls with a friend.
As officers attempted to arrest Anthony, he reached for a gun he had in his hoodie, and he and Clabough struggled. School resource officer Tom Willson was wounded after being accidentally shot by Clabough in the struggle. Willson was treated at the hospital. Thompson’s wound, however, was deemed a “non-recovering, life-ending injury” by the medical examiner. Although the school nurse came on the scene, no amount of medical intervention could have saved the teen.
Initially, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation claimed that Willson was shot by Thompson but backtracked soon after. This case appeared to be a series of events predicated on what the police thought happened but did not. In his statement, Clabough said he saw the teen fire the gun and thought one of his colleagues was shot. It turned out that it was likely an accidental firing that hit a trash can.
Upon Allen’s announcement, protesters resumed their demonstrations. Activists are calling for the end to qualified immunity for police and more accountability. When asked about the prospect of civil unrest due to the decision not to charge the officer who killed Thompson, she said, “At some point, we have to stop protesting against each other and work together for the greater good.”
Anthony J. Thompson’s family is being represented by attorney Benjamin Crump. His office is reviewing the case, including allegations made by Perkins and the bodycam footage to grasp what led up to Thompson’s death.