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Shooting At Oxford High School In Michigan Leaves 3 Students Dead, 6 Injured

Source: Matthew Hatcher / Getty

The police department in a small town in Michigan is facing heavy scrutiny after a lawsuit levied against it by a former high school student, charging that officers were racist in targeting Black athletes while covering up a hazing scandal.

According to reports, the lawsuit was brought against the Warren, Michigan police department by Cleveland Harville, a former student at Warren De Lasalle High School. Harville was one of seven Black male students at the all-boys Catholic high school who were charged with misdemeanors related to a hazing scandal in 2020. The accusations claimed that these students who were athletes were holding down younger athletes on the locker room floor and forcibly prodding their bare buttocks and legs with broomsticks. The lawsuit contends that these seven students were targeted in order to protect an elite varsity player who was white who was “the main one” initiating that ritual. Harville denied being involved when interviewed by the Detroit Free Press about the lawsuit, noting that he wasn’t even attending the high school when the incident allegedly occurred as well as another incident in 2019 where he was accused of putting someone in a headlock.

“I had a plan,” Harville said,” I wanted to be able to pick one of the schools that were interested in me, and go to school for finance and hopefully go on with my life from there.” The resulting charges saw colleges retract offers to him, as well as the other Black students who were accused. Those charges were dropped after they agreed to take part in an anti-bullying program, and all but Harville were directed to write letters of apology to the victims. The elite white player who the suit contends police were protecting reportedly went on to play football for Ohio State University.

“The more I research this, the more I’m appalled at the blatant and overt abuse of power to hurt Black children,” attorney Todd Perkins told reporters when contacted. “And it is specifically pointed at Black children because they are the only ones charged. It continues to hurt. It continues to pain. And it continues to anger me.” The Warren Police Commissioner emphatically denied the allegations, saying: “I adamantly deny that we were racist in this investigation. Everyone was treated fairly.” He refused to comment further, citing the present litigation.

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