HARTLAND, MI – Livingston County Commissioner Wes Nakagiri (R) has published the results of his investigation into an alleged hate crime that occurred on April 1, 2023. His report is titled, Made for News Media Hate Crime: Progressive leader claims hate crime victimhood, police report shows otherwise. The full report and supporting documents are posted on his County Commissioner’s website.
Nakagiri’s investigation centered on a hate crime alleged by Julie Ohashi, President of Livingston Integrity PAC. This progressive PAC leader alleged that a large swastika painted on a tree near her residence was intended to squelch her political activism by intimidating her into silence. Though not a minority herself, Ohashi claimed hate crime victim status stating her husband is a minority. At the May 8, 2023, Hartland School Board meeting Ohashi publicly spoke about the swastika/tree incident stating, “My husband is one of the few racial minorities in our neighborhood, so we reported the incident to the FBI, and it’s being investigated as a federal hate crime.” Ohashi claimed hate crime victim status over one month after investigations by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) and the FBI concluded that no crime was committed against Ohashi.
Nakagiri initiated his investigation after reading an inaccurate news report about the incident.On May 9, 2023, MLive published an article titled, Michigan woman discovered swastika near home after founding group against extremism. The article was published using a dateline of LIVINGSTON COUNTY, MI though the alleged incident occurred in neighboring Oakland County near the alleged victim’s Oakland County residence. “If the MLive reporter wanted to convey his story accurately he should have used a dateline of OAKLAND COUNTY, MI,” said Nakagiri. Nakagiri reviewed forty-seven randomly selected articles written by the same reporter and found their datelines to accurately describe the location of the story. It is unclear why MLive chose to use a bogus dateline for this article. Nakagiri added, “The fake dateline motivated me to conduct my own investigation to ascertain what other fake information might be included.”
Nakagiri received a copy of the OCSO police report, along with body camera video through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The report and video documented that Ohashi made significant misrepresentations to the OCSO and the FBI. For example, Ohashi repeatedly told the OCSO that she was a teacher in the Hartland Consolidated School District. Hartland school officials informed the OCSO that Ohashi is NOT a teacher in their district.
In another example, Ohashi initially informed the OCSO that her husband was Black. Later Ohashi complained to the OCSO that their police report wrongly described her husband as African American. A review of body camera footage clearly shows Ohashi saying “My husband is the only Black person in this whole area.” Nakagiri’s review of her husband’s LinkedIn page showed a man who appeared to be Asian/Pacific Islander.
Nakagiri said, “That Julie Ohashi misrepresented basic facts to law enforcement and to the public makes me wonder what other misrepresentations she might have made.”
Nakagiri has also submitted a FOIA request to the FBI. His request is pending.