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TBI identifies man who died in KPD custody; investigation ongoing

On the way to the detention facility, the man became unresponsive for reasons that remain under investigation, according to KPD.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is looking into a man's death after he became unresponsive in the custody of the Knoxville Police Department on Jan. 6, according to a release.

On Monday, January 10, the TBI identified the man as 41-year-old Robert Nathanial Bailey. They later said early information indicated foul play was not involved in his death.

At around 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 6, a KPD officer made a traffic stop in the area of Linden Avenue and Cherry Street. 

KPD said the driver, later identified as Bailey, had outstanding warrants for misdemeanor domestic assault and violation of probation for an original charge of schedule II drug violations. He was taken into custody without incident and taken to the Roger D. Wilson Detention Facility in a KPD transportation wagon. 

On the way to the detention facility, Bailey became unresponsive for reasons that remain under investigation, according to a release from the department.

After medical assistance was provided on the scene, he was taken to UT Medical Center via AMR, where he was pronounced dead, according to KPD. 

The TBI said his body was then sent for an autopsy, and preliminary information shows foul play was not involved.

TBI is investigating Bailey's death in following standard protocol.

On Jan. 13, the City of Knoxville said it shared the body camera footage with Robert Bailey's mother before releasing it to the public and said city leaders offered their condolences to her.

In a release, they said they planned to release the footage on Friday. However, after the family reviewed the approximately 90-minute video, the city said they received an order from the Criminal Court for Knox County prohibiting the disclosure of the footage until further action by the court.

It was signed by Judge Steven Sword, according to a release from city officials.

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