Police investigate social media post by assistant coach
A Snapchat posting by an assistant high school wrestling coach of an AR-15 rifle in January led to an investigation by Versailles Police, which determined there was never a viable threat to any students, employees or schools.
Versailles Police Lt. Michael Fortney said he spoke with Ethan Miller during a follow-up investigation last week, when an email was sent to
The Woodford Sun, police and others informing them about his social media post.
Fortney said he again determined “there was no threat to any children, any kids or the school system at all. As he (Miller) said (to me), it was a bit of bad judgment. And I think he actually posted an apology right after that on his social media (Facebook page) back in January,” which Miller did in fact do.
A person interviewed during the follow-up investigation “did not feel in fear. They did not feel threatened,” Fortney said. Police have determined that an email with Miller’s Snapchat image of an AR-15 rifle and the song lyrics: “I ain’t a killer but dnt push me” was an email account designed to make it appear that someone else was actually sending the message, according to Fortney.
He said the name attached to the email was not the actual person who sent the email, but he has spoken to a person who admitted to writing the email.
During his subsequent investigation after police received the email, Fortney said he determined Miller’s Snapchat posting “happened about the first of the year.”
“It was initially looked into at that time as well, and determined that there was no viable threat,” said Fortney.
“The subject (Miller), he didn’t actually threaten anyone. He just posted a picture.” Asked about the post, schools Superintendent Scott Hawkins said, “That is not a direct threat toward anybody. And if I’m not mistaken, I think that’s a lyric from a song (written by Tupac Shakur)…
“It’s not smart to post things like that,” he added, “but I think if you were to ask law enforcement if that is what they would consider a direct threat? They would tell you: no.”
While not viewed as a direct threat, Hawkins described the post as “not appropriate to do and so then you deal with that.”
“There was nothing criminal there,” said Fortney.
He described the song lyrics in Miller’s Snapchat as a statement and not a threat directed at anyone in the school system, which had dealt with the situation administratively before his involvement in the case last week.
“We were aware of that (situation) about six weeks ago and we addressed it,” said Hawkins last week.
“I can’t go into how we dealt with it because it is an employee, but it was addressed,” he added.
On Wednesday morning, Miller told The Sun, “All of this has been resolved so I have no comment.”
Hawkins said WCHS Principal Rob Akers contacted him after he was made aware of the situation. “We met with the employee and addressed that issue with him at that point in time,” Hawkins said.
Asked why Miller was allowed to continue as an assistant coach at the middle school in a follow-up interview, Hawkins said he cannot get into a lot of specifics in terms of how the situation was addressed because it’s a personnel matter.
“We addressed it with the employee and it was dealt with,” said Hawkins. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that he would not have been allowed to still perform some duties.”
“I believe,” he added, “we addressed it appropriately with that employee.”
Asked if Miller could have been prevented from being at wrestling meets or tournaments if he were no longer an employee, Hawkins said, “We can if we have a reasonable belief that there may be an issue.”
With the wrestling season now over, Hawkins said, “There will be no opportunity for him (Miller) to be around the students at this point in time.” He also pointed out that the district has no control over Miller’s involvement in youth wrestling organizations outside of the public school system.
Coaches such as assistant wrestling coach are employed for one season, and they are rehired or not for the next season, according to Hawkins.