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June 18, 2021
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel will not pursue charges against Grand Traverse County Commissioner Ronald Clous after he brandished a rifle during a virtual (Zoom) board meeting earlier this year.
In January, the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners held a public meeting in a virtual setting due to COVID-19 restrictions. A community member was addressing a previous meeting in which two members of the Proud Boys - a far-right, neo-fascist, chauvinist, and exclusively male organization that promotes and engages in political violence in the United States - addressed the board in support of adoption of Second Amendment Sanctuary status.
During the community member's public comment, Clous got up from his seat, went out of the camera frame, and then returned holding a rifle. Review of the meeting showed he held it across his chest for about five seconds before setting it down out of frame. He did not point it directly at the camera at any point.
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Following the incident, local officials were in contact with AG Nessel for advice on how to proceed. Ultimately, the proper avenue was taken and a complaint was filed with Michigan State Police. It was then sent to the Department of Attorney General to avoid any conflict of interest.
After thorough review of the incident, the Department determined Clous' actions did not amount to criminal conduct given there is not enough evidence to prove malicious intent.
"Anytime a person feels the law has been violated, the police should be notified and a report should be filed to ensure a proper investigation," Nessel said. "I appreciate the community member who came forward to file this report, and I respect the conclusion reached by my office. I find Commissioner Clous' action to be reprehensible and irresponsible, but not illegal. While he will not face accountability in a court room, Commissioner Clous' constituents have the power to make their opinions clear the next time he's up for re-election."
Clous is currently serving his fourth term on the board.
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