Hate Crime Reported By University Of Michigan Muslim Woman In Ann Arbor Found To Be Hoax
False Hate Crime Report Filed In Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI – Another reported hate crime, this time involving a female Muslim University of Michigan student, has been determined to a hoax.
The female student, age 19, reported on November 11, 2016, to Ann Arbor Police Officers that a man threatened to light her on fire if she did not remove her hijab. The student said she was walking down the street when a white man that she insisted was drunk approached her. She further described the man as being in his 20’s or 30’s, of average height, athletic build, and an unkempt appearance. The woman said that the suspect approached her just outside of campus between 5:30 and 7:30 PM She said he fled after the incident. Officers immediately launched an investigation into her hate crime report.
University of Michigan officials issued a ‘safety alert’ to students. As part of the investigation, police reviewed surveillance videos from businesses located around William and State Streets, where the incident was reported to have occurred. No evidence of a man matching the description of the suspect was found. There was also no evidence that the female student was even in that location at the time she said the incident happened. During the investigation, police officers also interviewed numerous witnesses. The investigation was conducted by the Ann Arbor Police Department, the University of Michigan Police Department, and the FBI. According to police sources, “numerous inconsistencies” were found with the woman’s statement.
Last week, Ann Arbor Police Lt. Matthew Lige said “there was not enough evidence to substantiate the woman’s claim,” and the incident was a hoax. The investigation results have been turned over to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office for review. After the review, the Prosecutor’s Office will decide whether the woman will be charged. Possible charges include Filing a False Police Report. Lt. Lige also said that because the woman reported a felony crime of ethnic intimidation, the Filing a False Police Report charge could be a felony. Under Michigan law, the crime is punishable by up to four years in prison or a fine of not more than $2,000. Police have said that she will not be identified unless she is charged with a crime.
This is the second report of a hate crime that has been unsubstantiated within the past few weeks since Donald Trump was elected President. Earlier in December, 2016, an 18-year-old female Muslim Baruch College student from New York was arrested on misdemeanor charges of Filing a False Police Report and Obstructing Government Administration. The woman, Yasmin Seweid, reported on December 1, 2016, that she was harassed by drunken white man who yelled “Trump” at her, who yanked at her bag, and who tried to pull her hijab off of her head. Peaceful protests were held after her report.
On December 7, 2016, Seweid disappeared and a report was filed for a Missing Person. She was found a few days later, safe, at her sister’s home after being tracked through Facebook posts. After being interviewed by police, she confessed and said that she made up the report so she wouldn’t get in trouble with her family.
We think that both women in these incidents should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for their false reports. There was a tremendous waste of law enforcement resources for both incidents, not including the negativity associated with a hate crime in the eyes of the public.
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