The Knoxville City Council held its weekly meeting Tuesday afternoon and a group of activists showed up to speak up in the court about an officer- involved shooting incident that happened Monday night. The protesters demanded the police department answer to their questions about the suspect's death.
Thirty-three year old husband and father Channara Tom Pheap was involved in a hit-and-run crash on the 1700 block of Merchant Drive. According to a Knoxville Police Department statement, an officer was responding to the crash and got into a physical altercation with Pheap. Pheap was shot and pronounced dead on the scene.
“I know we are all awaiting the completion of these investigations but please understand that gathering the facts and getting to the truth takes time. I urge everyone to be patient and I do appreciate that you are all here," Mayor Rogero said.
Despite the mayor's urges, attendees of the meeting still spoke up.
“It was the fourth fatal shooting by police in Knox County in last 10 months,” activist Constance Every said.
She claimed that the KPD discriminates some areas of Knoxville where is dominated by minority and lower-income residents. Protesters sat in the meeting with signs and t-shirts on that says, “It’s about us”. Activists from the group spoke during the public forum demanding an independent investigation and criticized officials for not providing police body cams.
“The community deserves Knoxville where all Knoxvillians are safe from all forms of violence and harm and that is the Knoxville that so many of us voted for today. It’s time for the Chief to be replaced and we have a new election coming up. I encourage everybody please go vote. Because if you guys are not doing anything, it’s time to clean house," said activist Danzel Grant.
He brought Pheap’s girlfriend and daughter to the podium and criticized those involved in the altercation. He demanded completion of the investigation into the shooting and the police department to be truthful with the entire process.
One of the protesters revealed her concern about the fairness of the investigation into the shooting incident due to the circumstances.
“It doesn’t seem quite right that Knox County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the Knoxville Police Department”, says Kristina Danielle.
The next city council meeting will be held Tuesday, September 4th.
More information regarding the case will be released through the Knox County Sheriff's Office as it comes.