A Harrisburg police investigation into allegations of threatened violence among city middle school students was incomplete and a report based on the investigation contained a number of inaccuracies, said the mother of one student alleged to be a victim.
Harrisburg police, however, said no direct threat was found, and the incident occurred in Williamson County, outside Harrisburg city police jurisdiction. They declined comment on Rietta Miller’s claims about the investigation.
Miller, whose seventh-grade daughter was named in one of nearly two dozen text messages among at least three eighth-grade students in December, said she is concerned the investigation will be closed with no police action.
Two of the texts depicted a handgun, one of which stated, “Boom, it’s been shot.” The texts, provided by Miller to The Southern Illinoisan, are in reference to eighth-grade girl basketball players losing playing time to seventh-graders.
None of the texts threatened harm against any specific student. Miller’s daughter was named in only one text asking how she found out about comments being made.
“As far as I am concerned I think it’s a dead issue. I feel it’s just going to be closed just like the investigation with (her son) and just like the investigation with the noose.” Miller said, referring to a 2010 YouTube video of her son being beaten by a student at Harrisburg High School and a noose allegedly found at the school in February with her son’s name on it.
Harrisburg Police Chief Robert W. Smith said Thursday his department’s investigation into the texts revealed the incident occurred in Williamson County.
“This is a Williamson County investigation,” Smith said. “Our investigation determined there was enough to determine it did not warrant further investigation in Harrisburg. She needs to file a report in Williamson County.”
Furthermore, the investigation found no direct threats were made toward any particular student, Smith said, adding that the Saline County state’s attorney’s office reviewed the case and concurred.