Kincannon, Thomas decline comment on Knox News report on KPD racism

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon and Police Chief Eve Thomas declined to comment Wednesday about a Knox News investigation detailing concerns by police officers about racism in the department. Like a 2019 internal investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct spurred by Knox News reporting, this recent investigation revealed […]

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon and Police Chief Eve Thomas declined to comment Wednesday about a Knox News investigation detailing concerns by police officers about racism in the department.

Like a 2019 internal investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct spurred by Knox News reporting, this recent investigation revealed command staff had again dissuaded an officer from filing a report to internal affairs for fear the complaint would go public.

Six current and former cops say the police department tolerates a culture of racism, and some commanders even abet it.

Multiple officers told Knox News a report about insulting and racist language directed by a white cop to a Black cop illustrates the department’s long-standing failure to address a racist culture.

Specifically, officers said the following:

  • being racist is not a deal-breaker in the department
  • the department has a poor record of hiring and promoting Black officers and a general lack of diversity
  • generally speaking, the lack of diversity in command staff is a problem
  • Black officers don’t feel comfortable speaking out about issues, and are afraid complaints will fall on deaf ears or result in retribution

Lashell Coykendall

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