A University of Michigan student pleaded guilty Monday to making a false police report after slicing her own face with a safety pin days after the Nov. 8 presidential election and then telling police she was the victim of a hate crime.
Halley Bass, 21, told police in Ann Arbor, Michigan, that she left a Starbucks coffee shop Nov. 15, walked down the street to a movie theater to see what was playing and was then attacked by a “45-year-old white male.” Bass later told police that she was targeted because she was wearing a safety pin in solidarity with immigrants affected by the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote, Michigan Live reported.
“[The] person must have seen the pin and picked on me,” Bass said. “That’s my best guess. No other reason why he would be targeting me.”
Those who did not support President Donald Trump in the 2016 election cycle wore safety pins after the election to show they were a “safe space” for others feeling upset by the Republican’s historic victory. The safety pin movement started last June in the United Kingdom after the country voted to leave the European Union, a referendum that came to be known as “Brexit.”
Following the historic vote, the Independent reported a spike in violent crimes, especially against immigrants and religious minorities.
Ann Arbor police went back and looked at surveillance footage from the businesses around where Bass said the incident took place, but when they saw that Bass was never even there, officers questioned her further. That’s when she admitted that she had fabricated the entire story.
Bass posted about the incident on Facebook, saying she wanted others to know “that all people are equal and deserve to have their voice heard and not feel endangered.” She later admitted the post “blew up a little bit more than I meant [it] to.”
According to Michigan Live, Bass said, “I was suffering from depression at the time. I made a superficial scratch on my face. It was visible and I was embarrassed about what I’d done. So I made up a story and told a friend that a stranger had done it while I was walking. I was encouraged to report it to the police. I made the mistake of doing that.”
Bass eventually told police that what actually happened before she sliced her own face was that she was in her woman’s literature class when “there were a few people in my class that sort of said some things that scared me.” It’s not clear what exactly “scared” Bass, though.
A representative for the University of Michigan did not immediately respond to TheBlaze Wednesday when asked for a comment.
Bass pleaded guilty to one count of reporting a false misdemeanor. She faces up to 93 days in jail and/or a $500 fine the Michigan Daily reported.
Bass made the false report just four days after another University of Michigan student lied to police about a white man threatening to set her on fire unless she removed her hijab, a head scarf that is often worn by Muslim women. Prosecutors in that case decided last month not to bring charges.
And in January, another reported “hate crime” at a Wisconsin college was discovered to be a hoax after a Beloit College student told police that his dorm room “had been spray painted with a bias symbol and phrases related to his religion and ethnicity.” The student who made that charge, 20-year-old Michael Kee, later admitted to police during questioning that he had done the spray painting.