Seven detectives from the Nashville Police Department are under suspension, marking a development in the ongoing investigation into the unauthorized release of documents linked to the writings of Audrey Hale.
Hale, a 28-year-old individual identifying as transgender, carried out a tragic shooting at The Covenant School in Green Hills on March 27. The incident claimed the lives of six individuals, including three 9-year-old students.
The suspension, initiated on Wednesday, aims to ascertain how the documents came into the possession of Steven Crowder, a conservative commentator who released them on Monday, as reported by local station WSMV.
According to Department representative Don Aaron, the suspension is a precautionary measure to safeguard the integrity of the ongoing investigation and is not a punitive action against the detectives involved. The names of the suspended detectives have not been disclosed, and they remain on administrative assignment with full police powers.
“Seven individuals are on administrative assignment (absolutely non-punitive) to protect the integrity of the active, progressing investigation. All seven have full police power. We are not identifying any of the seven by name. Not fair to them,” stated Aaron.
The documents in question were sealed since the attack, and an anonymous source reportedly approached Crowder’s investigative team, offering a glimpse into Hale’s writings through a text conversation purportedly involving a Nashville detective. Crowder verified the information before releasing the writings.
Hale’s writings revealed a strong bias against white individuals, particularly those perceived as privileged. The leaked pages included disturbing language and detailed Hale’s schedule on the day of the shooting, expressing a desire to harm the students at the school.
The Nashville police had initially planned to publish Hale’s writings post-investigation but faced legal challenges, leading to a delay. The three leaked pages represent only a small fraction of Hale’s extensive writings, including at least 20 journals, a suicide note, and a memoir recovered at the crime scene and her parents’ home.
Responses to the leaked documents have been divided, with some, including presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, commending the release. Others, including parents of Covenant School students and local politicians, criticized the move.
Brent Leatherwood, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and a parent of three children at The Covenant School, condemned Crowder for releasing the pages. He described the act as causing additional distress to a community already grappling with the aftermath of the tragedy.
Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell has initiated an investigation into the release of the images, expressing deep concern for the safety, security, and well-being of the Covenant families and all Nashville residents affected by the incident.