Seven Nashville Police Officers Suspended After Partial Release of Manifesto

Metro Nashville Police Department via AP

Steven Crowder’s release of three pages from the journal of the Nashville school shooter has set off a chain reaction of events. A local news channel in Nashville, WSMV4, got confirmation from an unnamed source that the pages were authentic.


Steven Crowder, host of “Louder with Crowder,” released three photos of writings in notebooks. Crowder claims they are images of the shooter’s writings. Now, a source has confirmed to WSMV4 that those images are indeed from the shooter.

Nashville police would not officially confirm the pages were real at first and neither would a lawyer representing the families of those killed in the attack. The families have been fighting in court to prevent the release of all of the documents left behind by Audrey/Aiden Hale.

Meanwhile, Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell called for an investigation into the apparent leak. An initial statement from Wally Dietz, whose title is “Law Director” for the city, said it couldn’t confirm anything about the pages in question.

“I cannot confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents due to the existing lawsuit,” Dietz said. “At the request of the Mayor, I am initiating a full investigation with multiple law enforcement agencies to determine exactly what happened.”

A spokesperson for families at the school named Brent Leatherwood, lashed out at Nashville police for the leak and said they had allowed the families to be terrorized all over again.

I’m sure it was upsetting for the families but I continue to think they should have no control over the release of these documents. The public also has an interest in knowing what motivated these killings and as we’ve already seen the journal/manifesto seems to offer some new information in that regard. Also, Leatherwood’s claim that this was all about clicks is pretty silly. He’s saying that presumably because Crowder runs a conservative YouTube show. But you could really make the same argument about any news outlet which published leaked information. These sort of leaks happen all the time.


By Monday night, Nashville PD released a statement from Chief John Drake which confirmed the authenticity of the pages.

I am greatly disturbed by today’s unauthorized release of three pages of writings from the Covenant shooter. This police department is extremely serious about the investigation to identify the person responsible. This action showed a total disregard for Covenant families, as well as the court system, which has control of the shooter’s journals at the present time due to litigation filed earlier this year.

On Tuesday, Candace Owens claimed two officers were going to be fired. She also claimed she’d been contacted by someone and given more information about the manifesto and Hale’s motives. So far those firings obviously haven’t happened so maybe this information was wrong or maybe something changed in subsequent days.

Yesterday, Crowder revealed that seven officers connected to the case had been suspended.


WSMV4 confirmed this and got this interesting statement from the police department.

When WSMV4 reached out to MNPD to confirm that information, department spokesperson Don Aaron wrote back stating that “seven individuals are on administrative assignment to protect the integrity of the active, progressing investigation.”

Aaron emphasized that the administrative move was “absolutely not-punitive” and that out of fairness to the officers, the department would not be identifying them.

According to Aaron, all seven officers continue to have full police power as the investigation moves forward.

So the officers are on leave because the police can no longer trust them not to leak more information (apparently) but this suspension is not punitive? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. A suspension seems pretty punitive. Also, what does it say that seven officers were deemed to be involved, not just one or two. You get the impression that quite a few officers who’ve seen this material think information is being covered up for no good reason. Crowder just responded to this today saying none of the suspended officers was his source for the information.


The Tennessee Star reported that their attorneys were trying to compel the FBI to corroborate the pages were accurate, and if so to explain why the rest of the manifesto couldn’t be released. [Emphasis added]

Attorneys for Star News Digital Media Inc., the parent company of The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network, filed a new motion on Tuesday to advance its ongoing lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which seeks to compel the full release of the manifesto written by Covenant school killer Audrey Elizabeth Hale, after three manifesto pages were leaked on Monday.

In a motion prepared after a portion of Hale’s manifesto was obtained by conservative comedian and pundit Steven Crowder, The Star News Network asserted the leak proves, “assuming the three pages’ authenticity,” that the FBI “could have selectively released” redacted portions of the manifesto without jeopardizing ongoing investigations…

In a July filing, the FBI previously argued that releasing even one page of the manifesto would jeopardize “active and ongoing” investigations related to “potential federal crimes, which could include whether underlying bias provided motivation in the attack, or if any co-conspirators or like-minded contacts were involved.”

The Star News Network motion notes that Hale is deceased, and the public portions of the manifesto “do not explain the bias or motivations of anyone else” or “suggest that another person committed a crime.” Accordingly, the motion states the FBI “cannot explain how revealing Hale’s hatred of her victims’ race and sexuality” could interfere with ongoing law enforcement action.


In other words, the FBI’s previous position on this makes no sense and the release of these pages proves that. It looks like the FBI is using the “active and ongoing” investigation claim as an excuse not to release material which is really about the motives of the suspect. And given that the only suspect was killed at the scene it’s not clear what additional investigation is needed.

If you’re interested in what Candace Owens claims is additional information on the motive behind this crime, you can watch here. I have no way of knowing if what her source is telling her is accurate but I have seen other reporters (see below) who’ve been working this case claim that there is a lot more in the documents than is conveyed in the three pages we’ve seen.

Crowder himself admitted this was likely true and said he just released what he had. He’s not claiming it’s a complete understanding and still hopes more will come out so we have some transparency on Hale’s motives. Here’s Crowder’s full interview with an investigative reporter from WSMV.

Note: I’ve corrected the headline to say seven police officers were suspended rather than seven detectives. 


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