An anti-Muslim hate crime against a University of Michigan student in which a suspect threatened to set her hijab on fire was apparently made up, Ann Arbor police detectives concluded today after interviewing witnesses and poring over surveillance footage.
Emotions continue to run high since Republican Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in an Electoral College landslide, an event that came as a complete surprise to the poll-driven mainstream news media, and by extension, many U.S. residents as well as people around the world.
Although various media accounts suggest a surge in hate crimes since the presidential election, apparently some of them appear to be hoaxes, according to The Daily Caller. The Legal Insurrection website is also keeping track of what it calls media malpractice.
“The victim described the suspect to police as a white man with bad body odor and slurred speech, as if he may have been drunk, ” Fox2 Detroit reported about the Ann Arbor incident.
According to the MLive website, the purported UofM-related hate crime incident occurred on November 11.
“Ann Arbor police say there is no evidence to support a Muslim University of Michigan student’s claim that a man threatened to light her on fire if she didn’t remove her hijab. Now the woman, who isn’t being identified, could be charged with filing a false police report, according to police…It would be up to the prosecutor’s office to authorize charges against the woman, which could include a felony charge because the crime she reported — ethnic intimidation — is a felony…”
“Despite the lack of evidence for the woman’s claims, they were immediately treated as true by various media outlets, as well as by the university itself, which immediately condemned the incident as a ‘hateful attack,'” The Daily Caller separately noted.
“‘Detectives reviewed hours of surveillance video,’ [Detective Lt. Matthew] Lige said. ‘We could not find her on any video. They just weren’t there.'” MLive added. There were no actual witnesses to what allegedly happened either, the detective indicated.
“During the investigation, numerous inconsistencies in the statements provided by the alleged victim were identified,” police said in a release,” ABC affiliate WXYZ detailed.
Hate crime hoaxes, when they allegedly occur, prevent law enforcement authorities from deploying resources to investigate real hate crimes.
Authorities just arrested a suspect in connection with an arson incident in which a black church in Mississippi was burned and the words “Vote Trump” was spray painted on its walls. The suspect is an African-American man.
Last week, following an initial complaint that generated national coverage, the NYPD charged a Muslim student, who claimed she was harassed by Trump supporters on a subway, with filing a false police report.
Elsewhere, a Florida man involved in a dispute over child custody stands accused of setting his ex-girlfriend’s car on fire as well a leaving a note with the words “KKK” and “Trump” in the woman’s mailbox. He also allegedly faked his own kidnapping.
Several weeks ago, Philadelphia police arrested a South Jersey man for allegedly spray-painting racist, pro-Trump messages on several cars on the morning after the November 8 presidential election. The suspect, who was arrested about two weeks later, allegedly is the ex-boyfriend of one of the property-damage victims, the Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News reported, and the victim and her daughter, who are black, identified the suspect when detectives showed them some surveillance footage. The suspect is also African-American, Breitbart News added.
A Chicago college student allegedly faked an incident in which she claimed to have received anti-gay, pro-Trump notes and emails, according to the educational institution’s president, who also indicated that the student is no longer enrolled there, the Inquisitr reported.
Separately, a Boston-area man reportedly admitted to lodging a fake hate crime complaint about being accosted by two alleged Trump supporters. “The men used a racial slur, made a reference to lynching and warned him this is Donald ‘Trump country now,’ according to the report he gave police,” the Boston Herald detailed. Malden, Massachusetts, police subsequently determined that the story was a complete fabrication.
As the Inquisitr also previously outlined, a University of Louisiana-Lafayette student acknowledged that she made up a story about being assaulted, robbed, and having her hijab torn off by two men, one of whom was wearing a Trump hat. The Lafayette Police Department later announced that it was no longer investigating after the alleged victim admitted to the fabrication. According to CBS New Orleans affiliate WWL-TV, authorities plan to charge the woman, age 18, with filing a false report.
Also in the Inquisitr, a Seattle-area woman made up a claim about being sexually assaulted that she posted to Facebook because she was “distraught” about the presidential election results. The Facebook post in question also apparently suggested that cops were indifferent to the initial rape allegation. Local police investigated the rape accusation and reportedly determined that it was a hoax after detectives finally located her and conducted an interview, the Kirkland Patch and other news outlets reported.
Reacting to the Ann Arbor and New York City purported hate crimes which allegedly turned out to hoaxes, HeatSteet observed that “Both stories made national headlines. They were reported as fact, were widely shared on social media, and cited an example of the ‘rising tide’ of Islamophobia related to the election of Trump. Meanwhile, the media has also expressed grave concern about the rise of ‘fake news.'”
[Featured Image by Paul Sancya/AP Images]