A Knoxville Police Department spokesperson said an internal investigation is underway after an off-duty officer attending a wedding reception was knocked unconscious for allegedly berating another attendee with racist remarks, according to local news station WATE.
Just before 9 p.m. on June 26, officers were dispatched to investigate a reported simple assault and found emergency personnel treating an unconscious person in the parking lot.
According to investigators, the man was identified as 22-year-old Tanner Holt, an off-duty Knoxville Police officer. He was reportedly knocked unconscious after reportedly telling a Black man that he, “didn’t know they let Black people in the reception hall.”
An incident report also alleges Holt, a white man, also told the man that he (Holt) was part of the Black community. An incident report states that Holt continued to make racial remarks despite the man asking him several times to stop talking about racial issues. That is when the man apparently lost his patience and slugged Holt, knocking him unconscious.
Four witnesses who attended the reception corroborated accounts of the incident, though one witness admitted they did not hear what was being said. All witnesses confirmed that Holt was very intoxicated when the incident occurred.
“Holt was transported to UT Medical Center for treatment. No charges have been filed in the incident,” according to WATE. “A KPD spokesperson said the allegations were immediately reported to supervisors and Chief Eve Thomas requested an Internal Affairs investigation. That investigation remains ongoing, the spokesperson said.”
“He has been out since the incident occurred while recovering from the injuries he sustained,” said Scott Erland of the Knoxville Police Department. “It is unknown at this time when he will be cleared to return to work. His current assignment is patrol in the West District. A decision will be made regarding his assignment when he is cleared to return while the investigation proceeds.”