Things Become Strange in the Case of Henry Granju

Henry Granju did not “allegedly” die. That poor kid is on his way to the graveyard as we speak. And he had injuries. Severe injuries, which can be verified by any of the medical professionals who treated him.

I don’t live in Knoxville, so I don’t need the Knoxville police to not put me on their list of troublesome fuckers, so I’ll say it.

There’s something very, very peculiar about the story they’re floating to the media about the circumstances that would eventually lead to Henry’s death.

Allison said the assault left the victim bleeding from his ears, with a broken jaw, broken ribs and brain injury.

The Sheriff’s Office report, however, notes Henry Granju declined to tell an acquaintance where the assault occurred or who assaulted him. In addition, the report states that the only injury the acquaintance noted was “a purple color forming on” Granju’s left eye.

I, myself, am not Sherlock Holmes, but just how does the Sheriff’s office expect that a kid with a broken jaw and broken ribs is going to wax eloquent about the facts that brought him to that condition?

And, yes, some of this could be how the reporter is framing it, but it sure as hell is seeming like the Sheriff’s department is trying to cast doubt in the minds of the public as to what actually happened to Henry–not just at the level of whether the assault went down in the way Henry’s family has been able to piece together, but whether he was actually injured in the ways they say he was.

As if a broken jaw is up for dispute.

Couple this with the detective working the case telling Katie that “there is no victim,” and one wonders if they just expected a teenager could be assaulted in Knoxville and, if the police decided he’d done something to deserve it, they could just shrug their shoulders, say some placating bullshit to the family, and get back to other things.

If you are the parent of a teenager or the friend of family member of a teenager in Knoxville, this should scare the shit out of you, because every teenager does stuff that, looking back on it, you wonder how he or she got to 21 in one piece. Every single one of us. We have all done something that could serve as a reason for us to not “deserve” justice. How many dead teenagers are there in Knoxville whose families never got a thorough investigation because the police preemptively decided that the kid wasn’t worth it?

And here’s the other thing–do you really think that a person or people who can beat another person nearly to death is really just keeping that violence confined to “deserving” addicts? When he nearly kills some little old lady trying to steal her purse, are the police going to be casting about for some way to downplay publicly what the little old lady went through? Or how safe is the undercover cop who eventually has to try to bring this bozo down?

You don’t sit back and let “them” kill each other off. Not just because that’s morally repugnant, but because “they” aren’t some confined group over there who keep violence only to themselves. It spreads into the whole community. It affects everyone.

The police deciding they’re going to start a PR battle with Henry’s family is not only stupid, it’s a waste of energy. Put the time and effort you’re spending casting aspersions onto the credibility of the family onto getting violent jackasses off the streets.

Ask yourself this–how many people, from how many parts of the country, do you think read this post this morning? And the Sheriff’s Department wants to start a PR battle with this woman?


But damn, it makes me shudder for the families who couldn’t do this, you know? I mean, if this is what they do to well-connected, non-poor, white people with positions of privilege in the community, one wonders what kind of “justice” the rest of the town can count on.

19 thoughts on “Things Become Strange in the Case of Henry Granju

  1. “Declined to tell”?

    I hope someone with a legal background can assure me that’s terminology that had to be used rather than someone’s piss-poor or smart-assed and hateful choice of words.

    Couple this with the detective working the case telling Katie that “there is no victim,” and one wonders if they just expected a teenager could be assaulted in Knoxville and, if the police decided he’d done something to deserve it, they could just shrug their shoulders, say some placating bullshit to the family, and get back to other things.

    There are a couple thousand eighteen-year-olds that move to Knoxville every August. Many of them occasionally do stupid things and take risks they shouldn’t. Is this how the sheriff’s office behaves if something happens to them off-campus?

  2. Is this how the sheriff’s office behaves if something happens to them off-campus?

    It’s not unprecedented. Google “johnia berry knoxville.”

  3. Pingback: A Blog Memory Album of Henry

  4. How about “Could Not Tell”? A kid with a broken jaw who had massive brain damage from the combination of a drug overdose and a brutal assault, who never spoke more than some two or three word sentences in the weeks thereafter, and whose ability to speak disappeared in the week prior to his death is supposed to deliver a full deposition?

    Jesus Christ. Murder victims typically can’t give a positive ID. Yet, Knoxville police manage to prosecute in other cases based on other types of evidence than witness testimony. What in the hell is their problem?

  5. That no victim crap completely blows my mind.

    It isn’t going to make that much difference but I’ve certainly just crossed Knoxville off of the list of places I’d ever consider moving my family. Not that the rest of the country is perfect but if the protective services in a place are going to advertise that they aren’t actually protective there’s no reason to go there.

    Maybe the police have time for this PR game since they don’t have to investigate any more cases where they can’t get a positive ID right up front.

  6. ?And the Sheriff’s Department wants to start a PR battle with this woman?”

    That’s just what I was thinking…maybe they are hoping readers don’t grok that whatever that blessed child died of, the KCSO is letting some drug dealer run around assaulting people with a tire iron.

    Umm, good luck with that.

  7. Um. Yeah. Katie was writing some of the better articles about the Kingston ash spill when that happened. I would NOT want her on my ass if I were the Knoxville sheriff.

    Unless, of course, I was so fucking stupid and negligent and evil that I just didn’t care or know any better. Hm.

  8. Umm, good luck with that.

    Unfortunately, they’re the ones holding the cards. Jurisdiction, don’t you know. They seem pretty practiced at stonewalling and victim-blaming.

    I’ve noted a number of “concern trolls” on places like the website and at Katie’s place, openly opining that drug addicts more or less get what they deserve. I’m sure that opinion isn’t too far afield from the prevailing opinion in the Sheriff’s office.

    I note with some consternation that bureaucrats around this state seem to take it as a point of pride when they’re openly criticized for not being up to the task of doing their jobs. That provincial “y’ain’t from ’round heeyuh” starts as a mantra as the wagons are circled, proclaiming professionalism and competence in the face of alleged hysterics on the part of grieving families and people who “just don’t understand the process.”

    It was sort of the same thing locally while the Wooded Rapist was running around loose. Metro PD couldn’t seem to forge a break in the case for over a decade, despite a long trail of victims and evidence, and the citizens of southern Davidson County would still be living in terror if it weren’t for the fact that Robert Jason Burdick wandered into the jurisdiction of Brentwood.

    Of course, the cops are overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated. That said, it’s hard coming to the defense of an office that was run by the likes of Tim Hutchison.

    Here’s one portrait of the former Knox County sheriff –

    As sheriff Hutchison refused to cooperate with “America’s Most Wanted” when they offered to feature the Johnia Berry murder to help find leads. At that point AMW had led to the arrest of 887 fugitives. Hutchison never caught the killer. His successor caught the guy after someone identified him from a police sketch and turned him in for the reward. Luckily the idiot had never bothered to leave Knoxville despite his face being on billboards, yard signs, and Food City grocery trucks all around town and a $70,000 reward being offered for his arrest.

    (Reference. There’s more.)

    Now, I know that I’m talking about the previous guy, but fish, rot, head – you know the drill.

    I’m curious to see what the coroner’s report says, because at this point, that may be the last hope that this child has of getting any sort of hearing. I’m just hoping that they have a scintilla of independence from the Sheriff’s office.

  9. This makes my blood boil.

    Here’s the thing – if a person makes it to a certain age, that person has likely done some screwed up stuff. Myself, I’ve done my share of stupid stuff – stuff that could have killed me. I got lucky. Many of us did. All of us could be the dead person. We just all drew the lucky straw.

    We could all be Henry. All the people who SHOULD be investigating this case could be Henry. Their children may one day be Henry. And by virtue of knowing this, the powers that be should be all over this.

    In cases of say, a drunk driver hitting a person and sending him/her into the hospital b/c of the injuries: if that person dies, the charges against the drunk driver increase. How is this case any different? It’s not.

  10. I’m really glad that Katie’s newer posts seem to indicate that the family has a lawyer involved. Clearly, they need someone who can dog this from a legal standpoint.

    And, yes, Samantha, good point. How many kids Henry’s age will be descending on Knoxville for the first time this fall and the police are basically saying “Um, you’re on your own”?

    And that’s the thing. We are on our own. Minority communities have been saying this for years, but this is making it clear to a whole group of people who have never had to see it up close. You can’t count on the police to even investigate what’s happened to you, let alone help keep it from happening to someone else.

    And it’s been five weeks. I think we can assume these bozos weren’t smart enough to leave town, but, if they were, they now have a five-week head start on the police.

  11. “Ask yourself this–how many people, from how many parts of the country, do you think read this post this morning?”

    More like how many people from all over the entire planet.

    I’ve got something else to say but I think I’ll go make a post out of it. Basically something I already said elsewhere but I can’t wrap my brain around what’s coming out today.

    There are still people in the broad and varied circle of Granju-Hickman friends and acquaintances that I know as well that are just today finding out that Henry died. It’s so heartbreaking to watch.

  12. Back in October, when my Mom got mugged by the same piece of shit that stabbed that lady in the Target parking lot, it was WEEKS before the detectives actually called her back. She had information for them. The lady at the gas station where the guy (and about 30 of his closest friends) lined up and went through the gas pump, using my mother’s credit card, had LOTS of info on him. They were in no hurry to get this bastard off the streets. They waited til he pistol whipped a young guy. Stabbing a lady in the back, nicking her kidney and throwing a 75 year old woman, with terminal cancer on the ground to get her purse, wasn’t enough to “alarm” them.
    Our system stinks. I hope and pray they put the lowlifes that killed that darling boy away. Makes me want to puke.

  13. THANK you for this blog. Please write to the media and KCSO and DEMAND justice for Henry. KCSO is doing a piss poor job and it is ridiculous to watch. We need people to speak out about this.

  14. Pingback: Katie Allison Granju Has A Request | Speak to Power

  15. Pingback: In Which I Ask, “How Is Beating Someone With A Tire Iron Not A Criminal and Arrest-Worthy Act?” – More on the Henry Granju Case « The Lynnster Zone

  16. Knox County Sheriff’s Office is HOPING this will all die down and people (us mothers) will stop talking about this!!!!! Please keep the message going. Justice for Henry. There are violent criminals walking the streets right now. Those thugs killed Henry.

  17. I cannot imagine having to bury my son and having to fight with the people who are supposedly paid to protect the public at the same time. It boggles my mind that the family has to deal with this. Plus some of the comments she is getting on the piece you linked to are downright nasty and rude. I would bet they are from someone within or with ties to the KCSO.

  18. I just want to point out that for as much as we get trashed in Memphis by the rest of the state, the MPD Homicide Unit solves 80% of their cases, which is the highest in the state.

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