Breaking News
More () »

Activist, mayoral candidate ordered to report to county probation in assault, disorderly conduct cases

Knoxville police were called after Constance Every went to Nama Sushi Bar downtown and made threats, evidence showed. A jury convicted her of two misdemeanors.
Credit: KCSO
Constance Every, convicted this week of assault and disorderly conduct.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — UPDATE WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 6: Activist and 2023 city mayoral candidate Constance Every was sentenced Wednesday to report for six months to Knox County probation authorities on misdemeanor convictions of assault and disorderly conduct.

But Knox County Criminal Court Judge Hector Sanchez said Every, 38, could cut that time in half if she passes drug screens and pays off her court costs after three months.

Prosecutors argued she needed to spend some time in jail. The defense argued she should be put on unsupervised probation because she's already shown she can follow the rules, answering to pre-trial supervision for more than two years while she awaits prosecution in a separate case that accuses her of disturbing a public meeting.

A jury convicted Every, who lost a bid last month in the city primary to advance to the general mayoral race, of the low-level charges in connection with a night in October 2021 when she caused a disturbance at the Nama restaurant downtown.

Sanchez noted she had no prior convictions and was a good candidate for alternative sentencing.

He also noted that she was an Army veteran who had served her country. The judge is a U.S. Marine.

Every has a large following because of her activism, the judge observed. But he suggested she could use a degree of tact when speaking out -- not the first time that observation has been made.

Every is someone who has the ability to effect change, Sanchez said.

Given the chance to speak for herself, Every told the court the case against her was "overzealously exaggerated."

She's been falsely made out to be an "irate, angry, Black woman," largely by people in the Knoxville Police Department, she said.

Every faces trial in October in the public meeting case.

PREVIOUS STORY: Constance Every, an activist, veteran and Knoxville mayoral candidate, was convicted this week in Knox County Criminal Court of assault and disorderly conduct for two incidents that occurred the same night in October 2021.

Every, 37, faces sentencing Aug. 3 before Judge Hector Sanchez.

Jurors convicted her of shoving an employee of Nama on Gay Street who intervened after Every created a disturbance at the restaurant Oct. 6, 2021. She also was convicted of disorderly conduct for her behavior afterward on the street nearby in the downtown neighborhood.

According to a warrant, Every went inside and was greeted by a hostess. She said she didn't want to talk to her; a manager came forward.

Every accused the manager of only serving white people and yelled at her, the warrant states. The manager called 911.

The state's evidence for jurors included witnesses from that night as well as 911 calls and bodycam footage.   

Every threw a lamp that was on the hostess stand to the floor. When another employee got involved, she shoved him with both hands, a warrant states.

She told him and the manager they were going to get shot, authorities alleged. She left.

Knoxville Police Department Sgt. Scott Coffey, who was responding to the area after the disturbance call, spotted her on State Street. She was yelling and screaming on the street such that people at the rear of the Tennessee Theatre could hear her, and she yelled and screamed at Coffey because he was a police officer, a warrant states.

Every is awaiting trial, along with several others, on a charge of disturbing a Knox County Commission meeting in April 2021.

She's one of five people, including incumbent Indya Kincannon, running in the Aug. 29 mayoral primary. She ran for governor in 2022, getting about 10,270 votes. Gov. Bill Lee won reelection with about 1.13 million votes.

Credit: WBIR
Calvin Skinner and Constance Every.

Before You Leave, Check This Out