In response to recent shootings in Knoxville, Vice Mayor Gwen McKenzie is hosting a virtual “Stop The Violence” Town Hall, September 29, 2020 from 5-6:30 p.m. The event will be live-streamed on Facebook.  The town hall is the first of a series of community conversations that will engage the community, provide information and resources, and provide a forum for the frank discussions necessary to establish strong, safe neighborhoods.


The first Town Hall “Stop The Violence Series” will focus on what steps are needed to get criminals arrested and off the streets.  “This first session will walk you through the investigation and criminal justice process from the perspective of the victim’s family. We will cover KPD procedures from getting the initial call to working the crime scene to the investigation and court hearings. Victim Advocates will speak about their role in supporting victim’s families and the District Attorney’s Office will be on hand to discuss what information is necessary to effectively prosecute cases,” said Gwen McKenzie, Councilwoman for the Sixth District and Vice-Mayor.


McKenzie is no stranger to addressing violence and advocating for a safer, thriving East Knoxville. She spearheaded a Community Action Meeting in Burlington along with Bishop Kevin Perry, Word of Life Ministries and Apostle Jerry Upton, Honey Rock Victorious Church in 2018 after several shootings left the community angry and grieving. The meeting was an opportunity for law enforcement to open a dialogue with community members, share crime data and give safety tips.


“It was important to provide events that engaged the entire community in an issue that is at the heart of our civic life together. As I thought about putting the event together, I knew the police had to be involved because one key element to having a safe community is to have positive and open communication with law enforcement. Open communication from both sides is the first step to building trust, and trust is essential in creating a safe, healthy community,” said McKenzie.


The moderator for the virtual town hall event live-streamed on Gwen McKenzie’s Facebook page will be Gabrielle Hays from WBIR-10 News. Panelists featured in the discussion are: Victim’s Rights Advocates Terry Walker Smith & Zenobia Dobson; KPD Chief Eve Thomas; Victim’s Advocate Eve May; and Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen. The panelist’s discussion will be followed by a Q&A session.


“This virtual town hall is building on my commitment to East Knoxville residents to provide a thriving economy, build strong relationships, and engage and uplift the community. Family members and friends often feel that they have little control over the criminal justice process or results- this town hall is a first step in providing clear cut answers and giving back control to the community.” McKenzie said.