Reimagining Public Safety

Community Safety and Empowerment Officer

LaKenya Middlebrook
[email protected]
(865) 215-3155

400 Main St.
Knoxville, TN 37902

Last item for navigation
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share via Email
The death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, ignited concerns and conversations about the state of law enforcement across the United States and in Knoxville. Residents held protests and demanded action and answers from elected officials, police administration and community leaders. 

On May 29, 2020, Mayor Indya Kincannon and Police Chief Eve Thomas issued a joint statement condemning the actions of the Minneapolis police officers involved in the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody after repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe,” as Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for almost 8 minutes. 

The City leaders stated, “We are outraged by the brutal actions of the officers involved in the death of George Floyd. We condemn this egregious behavior and will work tirelessly to make sure nothing like this ever happens in our community.”

“The Knoxville Police Department will continue to hold its officers to the highest ethical standard, provide the training necessary to ensure the best possible outcome in all scenarios, and work with the community to build and maintain a relationship of trust and mutual understanding.” 

Excessive use of force is illegal and entirely inconsistent with KPD’s mission to prevent crime and keep the peace.

Mayor Kincannon and Chief Thomas said officers will continue to be trained thoroughly in human relations, cultural diversity, ethics in policing and de-escalation tactics, both during the Recruit Academy and throughout their careers. 

Ongoing training is provided during regular in-service courses and daily squad roll calls as well as through the review, adjustment and enforcement of policies.              

Read the full statement: Knoxville Leaders Condemn Actions of Minneapolis Police Officers

On May 31, Mayor Kincannon released a video statement about Floyd's death, area protests and her commitment to work for peace and justice. 

Transcript: Mayor Kincannon Talks about George Floyd's Death, Protests, Commitment to Peace & Justice - 05/31/2020

On June 3, 2020, City of Knoxville Community Empowerment Director Charles F. Lomax. Jr. addressed residents regarding the death of George Floyd.

He concludes the video with these words: "As we collectively grieve and mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, we must also ensure that injustices of this magnitude are eradicated and never take root in the City of Knoxville. The Department of Community Empowerment is committed to ensuring that all Knoxvillians, regardless of race, ethnicity or nationality, are treated in an equitable and just manner. We stand ready to engage in the difficult conversations and to push for policy changes that will finally help us achieve 'liberty and justice for all.'"

City Council Passes Resolution R-166-2020 Condemning Racism, Excessive Use of Force and Violence - 06/02/2020