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Seven charged with disrupting commission meeting while rallying for release of Austin-East shooting bodycam footage

The protest went inside and interrupted the County Commission meeting. Leader Constance Every spoke up before officers arrested her and six others.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Deputies arrested seven people Monday night at the Knox County Commission meeting that occurred during a 'Release the Tapes' rally calling for the release of body camera video of last week's Austin-East Magnet High School shooting.

All seven face class B misdemeanor charges for disrupting a meeting or procession.

Dozens more gathered Monday at the City-County Building to stand in solidarity and plead for the county to release the bodycam footage, which the Knox County District Attorney General said she will not release until the investigation is complete.

The protest went inside just after 6:30 p.m.and interrupted the County Commission meeting. Leader Constance Every spoke up, and authorities arrested her as well as six others for disrupting the meeting.

Officers escorted the group out of the room after Every spoke from an electronic bullhorn from the back of the room, saying "this meeting is now over."

"It is not okay what you are doing," she said just before officers began to escort her out. "A child was murdered by the very people who got they hands on me. Take your hands off of me."

The Knox County Sheriff's Office said it arrested Every, Calvin Skinner, Gavin Guinn, Kevin Andrews, Mary Winter, Carrie hopper and Aaron Valentine -- saying they had posted notices at the entrance warning about the law regarding disrupting meetings.

According to court documents, "Constance Every and the other six individuals significantly contributed to the interruption of the commission's public meeting, and they were each detained."

In Knox County, it is a Class B misdemeanor to "substantially obstruct or interfere with a meeting, procession or gathering by physical action or verbal utterance" with intent. 

Each person that was arrested was told that, due to their behavior, they were no longer welcome to be on the City-County building property unless explicitly invited for a specific date and time (such as subpoena), according to court documents. "This serves as their trespass notice."

A court date for all seven people arrested is set for June 6.

This came one week after the Austin-East shooting that left teen Anthony Thompson Jr. dead and a KPD officer wounded, who just recently was released from the hospital.

Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon, along with the Knoxville Police Department, have vocally supported the release of the footage, saying it will shed light on the circumstances of the shooting for the public.

"Every day the video is not released perpetuates rumors and misinformation. Every day the video is not released undermines the public trust. It is my first priority to get the video released. The sooner we get the video out, the sooner we can begin to process and someday heal," she said.

Students are scheduled to return to school Wednesday for 90 minute sessions before returning to class in-person Thursday, where there will be new security measures in place -- including searches and use of metal detector wands at the entrance.

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