Livonia student out of school after allegedly threatening to kill Black people in video, officials say

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

An eighth-grade Livonia Public Schools student who allegedly posted a video that is circulating on social media threatening to kill Black people while he held a gun is no longer in school and was visited by police at home, school officials said on Friday.

The nine-second video shows the Emerson Middle School student holding a handgun and saying: "I am ready for the n------. Gonna kill them now because I want a lawsuit right now mother------."

As he speaks, the student adds a magazine to the weapon and racks the slide as if to load the weapon. A Confederate flag hangs on a wall behind him.

Livonia police Lt. Charles Lister said his department was notified of the Snapchat video on Dec. 23 and made a visit to the child's home that day.

The gun shown in the video, which is a BB gun or airsoft gun, was confiscated, Lester said. 

Lester said the video, which was first posted in May, is "reprehensible" but it is not clear it violates any laws.

"We currently have an open investigation. We are working with Livonia Public Schools," Lester said. "At this point, we don’t believe we have anything that rises to the level of criminal activity to submit a warrant request to the prosecutor's office."

"We are waiting to see what is going to transpire with the school system," Lester said.

School officials said the video resurfaced this week.

"The Livonia police have been involved from the onset of the sharing of this post, and we will continue to follow our investigative procedures and protocols," said Daniel Willenborg, director of secondary programs for Livonia Public Schools, in a statement.

"Without question, the video is despicable and reprehensible and has caused fear and discomfort among many," Willenborg said.

It was not immediately clear if the student was kept home by family or removed by the school. School officials declined to elaborate.

"We can’t indicate the reason for the student not being in school, in terms of suspension, etc. Suffice to say, he is not in school at this time," school spokeswoman Stacy Jenkins said in an email.

On Friday, the school's leadership sent a letter to middle school families saying the district has a "responsibility to respond to racism, discriminatory language, and hateful acts toward anyone in our schools."

The letter, signed by Principal Kevin English and Assistant Principal Lindsay Rousseau, said the district will follow "procedures to ensure (the student) is not a threat to others."

"Given the recent events at Oxford High School, we are all too aware of how this video and this student’s actions have only added to our students’ and community’s fears," the letter said.

jchambers@detroitnews.com