Off-duty Tennessee officer knocked unconscious after racist remarks

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An internal investigation is underway after an off-duty Knoxville police officer was knocked unconscious for allegedly making racist remarks to another attendee at a wedding reception.

Officers responding to reports of the assault around 9 p.m. on June 26 found emergency personnel treating an unconscious person in the parking lot. Investigators say 22-year-old Tanner Holt, an off-duty Knoxville Police officer, was knocked unconscious after reportedly telling a Black man that he, “didn’t know they let Black people in the reception hall.”

An incident report 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 telling him several times to stop talking about race.

Four witnesses corroborated accounts of the incident, though one admitted they did not hear what was being said. All witnesses stated that Holt was very intoxicated when the incident occurred, according to the report.

Holt was transported to UT Medical Center for treatment. No charges have been filed in the incident.

A KPD spokesperson said the allegations were immediately reported to supervisors and Chief Eve Thomas requested an Internal Affairs investigation.

Holt has not returned to patrol since the incident while recovering from his injuries. KPD Public Information Officer Scott Erland said it is unknown at this time when he will be cleared to return to work.

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