Editor’s Note: This story was updated Oct. 4 at 11:01 p.m. to include information from police records obtained Oct. 4 through the Freedom of Information Act. This information includes the names of attorneys, descriptions of surveillance videos and when the case was closed by the Ann Arbor Police Department.
Content warning: mentions of homophobia and antisemitism.
Two Michigan student-athletes have been tied to an incident of homophobic vandalism outside of the Jewish Resource Center on Aug. 22, according to sources familiar with the matter who spoke with The Michigan Daily.
Johnny Druskinis, a sophomore who was removed from the Michigan hockey team’s roster late last week, and Megan Minturn, a sophomore on the Michigan women’s lacrosse team, have been tied to the incident. The Daily independently confirmed Druskinis’ and Minturn’s identities.
University spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald confirmed Druskinis’ removal.
“While we can confirm that Johnny Druskinis has been removed from the hockey team roster for violating team rules, federal law precludes us from discussing student information without the written permission of the student,” Fitzgerald said.
A Michigan hockey spokesperson did not comment on the nature of Druskinis’ removal from the team, including declining further comment when directly asked if Druskinis’ removal was related to the vandalism. A Michigan women’s lacrosse team spokesperson did not respond to The Daily’s inquiry about Minturn’s status within the program. The spokesperson did respond to an earlier inquiry about Minturn’s roster status, saying that they are not aware of the 2024 roster yet and are therefore unable to comment on its details.
In surveillance video of the incident released by the Ann Arbor Police Department on Aug. 25, two individuals were seen spray painting the JRC walkway at around 5 p.m.
Police records which The Daily obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request described the full video. A report filed Aug. 24 describes a “large group of people” that walked past the JRC. Two men left the group to take a photograph in the front yard of the JRC before leaving. A man who watched the photograph occur then walked up to the sidewalk with a spray paint can in his hand.
“(The man) then bends over, and spray paints the homophobic slur and the male genitals,” the report read. “While he is doing so a female leaves the group and walks back to him. She watches him paint the graffiti then she takes the can and moves closer toward hill and spray paints the letters on the sidewalk.”
According to an Oct. 3 media release from AAPD, the man seen in the video spray painted male genitalia and a homophobic slur, while the woman in the video spray painted her initials afterward, which is supported by the obtained police records. Both the release and the police records contain images of the graffiti. The obtained records include an additional image of the graffiti that was not provided in the Oct. 3 release. The release also includes a statement that AAPD will not respond to further requests for comment. Police records indicate that on Sept. 7, AAPD determined it would close the case because the “case will be handled between the two parties.”
Sources who spoke with The Daily described the incident and actions identically to AAPD’s October release and named Druskinis as the man in the video and Minturn as the woman.
The JRC declined to press charges against the two student-athletes. Rabbi Mendy Klahr of the JRC shared that the JRC was informed, through lawyers for the students, that the pair wanted to meet with the JRC. According to Klahr, by the time the students met with the JRC, Michigan had already been made aware of the incident. The Daily was unable to confirm the nature and timing of Michigan’s response.
In police records obtained by The Daily, attorney Ryan Ramsayer is listed as the legal representative for the man who participated in the vandalism, while Mark J. Kriger was listed as representative for the other individual. The Daily called each attorney’s office Wednesday evening and left a message requesting comment. Neither attorney had returned the call as of the latest update to this story.
The names of the individuals involved in the crime were redacted throughout the report, as well as witnesses who spoke with AAPD. In response to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by The Daily on Sept. 17, the University of Michigan indicated that no records related to a suspension of either athlete from their respective teams exist.
According to Klahr, Druskinis and Minturn asked to attend a Shabbat dinner at the JRC on Sept. 8, where they apologized for their actions in front of a large crowd of students attending the dinner. Sources close to the matter also said that the two students claimed they were intoxicated during the incident.
In police records obtained by FOIA request, Ramsayer claimed that his client was “very intoxicated at the time and does not remember anything.”
The Daily was able to independently confirm that Druskinis and Minturn attended the Shabbat dinner on Sept. 8. Klahr, who led the Shabbat dinner that night, told The Daily that the JRC did not want to seek charges or further punishment.
“We believe in second chances,” Klahr said.“We don’t just cancel people.”
LSA sophomore Sarah Ostad, who attended the Shabbat dinner where Druskinis and Minturn apologized, said that she’s conflicted about how to interpret their apologies.
“From my point of view, I respect them so much for coming in front of 350 people,” Ostad said. “And obviously, apologies can be faked, but from what I saw, it seemed genuine and I don’t know if forgiveness is warranted, but from the JRC’s point of view — if you brought it up to the rabbis at the JRC … they would be like, ‘They apologized and we’re over it’. I don’t know if I feel like that. And I don’t think most people feel like that.”
Klahr went on to explain that Judaism places emphasis on forgiveness. Especially with the Jewish High Holidays and Yom Kippur — the Jewish Day of Atonement — approaching as the aftermath of the graffiti was unfolding, Klahr said he felt it was important for the JRC to provide the students with a chance to apologize.
“I think the way to fix it, specifically in this specific case, is not to say, ‘Oh, let’s go after them, destroy their life or something like that.’ ” Klahr told The Daily. “It’s, ‘Let’s show them why it’s a mistake. And let’s let them grow from it. Let’s let them be better people.’ ”
Ostad, who is Jewish, echoed the sentiment about Judaism’s emphasis on forgiveness.
“I think it’s important to note that, as a culture, we don’t want to hate anyone,” Ostad said. “And we don’t wish bad upon anyone. And that’s a really big part of our religion.”
In response to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by The Daily on Sept. 17, the University indicated that no email communications between the Michigan hockey staff and the JRC exist, nor do communications between the Michigan women’s lacrosse staff and the JRC exist.
When asked at a preseason press conference Tuesday, Michigan hockey coach Brandon Naurato declined multiple times to comment on any questions related to Druskinis.
Both Druskinis and Minturn did not respond to The Daily’s request for comment sent via email by the time of publication.
The JRC released a statement Tuesday evening regarding the incident, which addressed the misinformation that other outlets have circulated.
“We have been in contact with those responsible and received a private apology, as well as a subsequent public apology,” the statement read. “The public apology took place on Shabbat, in front of over 350 people. We deliberately chose Shabbat for the public apology, knowing it would not be recorded, and thus not contribute to further public attacks. We feel continued news coverage of this incident is unwarranted and unfortunate. From our perspective, it was put to rest weeks ago.”
Editor’s note: this story is developing and will be updated as The Daily confirms additional information.
Daily Sports Editor Liza Cushnir can be reached with tips, comments or concerns at email@example.com or on X @lizacushnir.
Managing Sports Editor Connor Earegood contributed to the reporting of this story.