Fri. Jan 21st, 2022


Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has offered the services of her department to conduct an independent investigation into how Oxford High School officials handled the days leading up to the high school mass shooting.

In two tweets Sunday morning, Nessel responded to Oxford Superintendent Tim Throne’s announcement Saturday that the district will hire an outside investigator to look into its actions.

“We have reached out to the Oxford Community School District Attorney and have offered services from the Michigan Department of Attorney General to conduct a full and comprehensive review of the shooting on 30.11.21 and the events leading up to it,” Nessel tweeted and replied on a tweet about a free press story. “Our attorneys and special agents are uniquely qualified to conduct an investigation of this magnitude and are prepared to conduct a comprehensive investigation and investigation to answer the many questions society has regarding this tragedy.”

Nessel told Free Press that she has been in contact with Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald all week, who, Nessel said, “has made it pretty clear that a comprehensive investigation is needed into the school.”

Her office is best placed to do that review, Nessel said, because it houses both civilian and criminal lawyers and investigators. This means that AG can not only look at whether any criminal law was broken, but whether there were civil offenses. Her office also has experience in looking at policies and procedures to ensure that everyone was followed and that they are in place the best plans.

It would benefit not only Oxford but also other school districts throughout the state.

The investigation should be conducted by a truly independent law firm, not a private law firm hired by the district, Nessel said, because a private law firm is often more about “protecting their client.” In this case, it would be the school district.

“We want to answer all the questions parents have about this,” Nessel said. It includes trying to figure out the facts of the situation.

“There’s a lot of information out there,” Nessel said. “I do not know at this time what is true or not true.”

On Saturday, Nessel’s office sent an e-mail to the school district’s lawyer offering services. She said that from Sunday mid-afternoon she had not heard back, but was not sorry.

“They should sit down and talk about it,” she said.

Thorne sent a letter to parents on Saturday about the school district’s actions leading up to Tuesday’s shooting.

He wrote that Oxford High School advisers did not believe the 15-year-old, who is accused of killing four classmates and injuring seven others, was in danger of injuring others. He also wrote that Ethan Crumbley seemed calm at an office meeting with his parents on Tuesday morning, where the shootings took place, claiming that a graphic drawing depicting blood and a bullet was part of a video game idea he was at to design.

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The letter also contained a promise to conduct an independent investigation. It comes after several parents and community members questioned whether school officials could have intervened more aggressively in Crumbley’s behavior.

“Our community and our families deserve a complete, transparent account of what happened,” Throne wrote. “We also plan to make regular updates to our families and communities.”

Contact David Jesse: 313-222-8851 or Follow him on Twitter: @reporterdavidj. Subscribe to the Detroit Free Press.

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