Protesters banned from City-County building

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Rev. Calvin Skinner

Seven protesters who were arrested Monday night after disrupting a County Commission meeting have been told they are no longer welcome at the City-County Building, according to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

Among those arrested were Reverend Calvin Skinner of Mount Zion Baptist Church and Constance Every, a political activist. 

They were among a group of approximately 40 other men and women who went into the large assembly room where County Commission was holding a work session about 6:32 p.m. and used a bullhorn to bring the meeting to a brief halt. The group was asking for the release of video recordings made during the shooting of 17-year-old Anthony Thompson Jr. by police at Austin-East Magnet High School. 

Skinner, Every and five other protesters were arrested while the rest of the group reconvened outside the building and continued their demonstration.

After their arrest, a captain from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office “spoke with each subject individually; he explained to each of the 7 subjects that, due to their behavior, they were no longer welcome to be on the property of the City/County Building unless explicitly invited for a specific date and time (such as subpoena),” according to a report written by Sheriff’s Office deputy John Sharp.

“This serves as their trespass notice,” Sharp’s report concluded. 

In the report, Sharp stressed that “all excisable entrances to the City/County Building, the entrance to the small and large assembly room were clearly posted with TCA 39-17-306 (notice to all persons entering) that it is a misdemeanor offense to disrupt a meeting or procession, prior to the beginning of the Commission meeting.”

It wasn’t immediately clear what impact the trespass notice will have. Such notices can make it easier to prosecute an individual for trespassing if they come back on the property in question, but a spokesperson for District Attorney General Charme Allen didn’t respond to a request on the potential legal ramifications..

Every referred questions to her attorney, who couldn’t be reached late Tuesday. Rev. Skinner didn’t return a phone call seeking comment.

Constance Every

J.J. Stambaugh can be reached at jjstambaugh@hardknoxwire.com

Published on April 21, 2021