Mother Of Teen Boy Killed By Police At Tennessee High School Files Lawsuit
"It’s been very emotional for us and I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon," Chanda Robinson said.
by Megan Ambers
April 12, 2022 at 10:14 pm
Anthony Thompson Jr. was killed after a confrontation with four KPD officers at his school.
Chanda Robinson, the mother of Thompson, told WIBR News 10 that they need to know what happened to her son. Robinson noted that policies need to be changed so this doesn’t happen again.
“We need to get to the heart of what happened to Anthony,” Robinson said. “we need to see some policy changes so that this never happens again, [so that] there’s never another mother sitting in my position.”
Robinson said the loss of her son is a pain that will never go away. She remembers Thompson as a picky eater and a teenager who loved his long dreadlocks. The slain teenager’s mother said she missed his cooking and called him sweet and gentle.
“What I miss most about him is him asking me to cook,” Robinson said. “He was gentle; he was sweet; he was kind.”
Robinson said she had no idea he had a gun — if she had, she would have kicked his butt.
“That was my baby,” Robinson said.
On April 12, 2021, KPD officers responded to the Austin-East High School after the mother of Thompson’s girlfriend filed a domestic violence complaint against him.
BREAKING: Exclusive story on a new development tomorrow in the matter of Anthony Thompson Jr., an Austin-East High School Student who was shot and killed by police in the school bathroom exactly one year ago this week. Stay tuned. pic.twitter.com/mxDRrfe3pA
— Angela (@AngelaDWrites) April 11, 2022
WBIR News 10 reports that she and her daughter say Thompson physically hurt her earlier in the day at school, and it wasn’t the first time.
The four officers would locate Thompson in one of the bathrooms, sitting in a stall with the door open and on his phone. The officers would order Thompson to stand up, in which he would put his hands into the front pockets of his hoodie.
While one officer took his left hand, School Resource Officer Adam Willson struggled to get Thompson to remove his right hand from his hoodie.
According to the news outlet Officer Clabough approached, he allegedly could see the barrel of a gun pointing at him from inside the hoodie pocket. The gun fired, but it is unclear if Thompson intended to fire the weapon or if it was by accident.
The bullet fired passed Officer Brian Baldwin and hit a trash can. Baldwin said to have fallen back, believing that he had been shot. Officer Clabough said he saw the gun, still inside Thompson’s hoodie, pointed toward Lt. Stan Cash, and fired his weapon at the 17-year-old, killing him.
Officer Clabough described Thompson’s movement; he thought he pointed a gun at Willson and fired again. Willson was struck in the leg by the shot.
On Monday, Chanda Robinson, Thompson’s mother and a speech therapist employed by Knox County Schools, and Gralyn Strong, his best friend who reportedly witnessed the boy’s death, filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Tennessee.
The four KPD officers, Lt. Stanley Cash, Officer Brian Baldwin, Officer Jonathan Clabough, and Officer Adam Willson, are now being sued by Robinson and Strong, accused of depriving Anthony Thompson Jr of his civil rights guaranteed by the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments;
— #Joe_Is-My-President (@meomy1236) April 11, 2022
The complaint names the city of Knoxville, Knox County, the Knox County Board of Education, and the Knoxville police officers involved as defendants; Officers Baldwin, Clabough, Adam Willson, and LT. Cash.
According to the suit, Robinson was questioned at the police station by an agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation after the shooting. However, it wasn’t until she demanded to know where Thompson was that she was notified of his passing. The suit states it took two days of calling hospitals to find Anthony’s body.
Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon released a statement, calling the shooting incident a tragic day for the family and the city.
“I can say that April 12, 2021, was a tragic day for the Thompson family, our officers, the school system, and our entire city,” Kincannon said. “Anthony Thompson died before reaching his full potential, and my thoughts remain with his family today.”
After reviewing the video evidence, Knoxville District Attorney General Charme Allen decided not to file charges against any officers involved.
Allen stated during a press conference last year that although the family asked her not to release the bodycam, she would release it.
“I have just spent four hours with this family, and I will tell you that was a painful long agonizing four hours for that family, but we talked about the death of their 17-year-old son,” Allen said. “and one thing that family asked me not to do was release those tapes today, but because I had made a promise that once I completed the file and once I talked to the family I would release the tapes.”
As a result of the decision not to charge the officers, the incident sparked unrest in the community. To that, District Attorney General Allen said the protesting must stop.
“At some point, we have to stop protesting against each other,” Allen said. “and work together for the greater good.”