One 18-year-old student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette claimed Wednesday to have been robbed by two white men of her wallet and her hijab head covering and her story instantly became fodder for those opposed to President-elect Donald Trump. The problem is, though, she made the entire thing up, according to local law enforcement.
The Middle Eastern woman, whose name was not disclosed, reported to the Lafayette Police Department that the two men, one of whom was wearing a Trump hat, rushed her while she was walking to class around 11 a.m. on Wednesday and stole her belongings after hitting her repeatedly.
That claim, which was trafficked by many anti-Trump opinion makers and even appeared in The Advertiser, a Louisiana-based publication in the USA Today network, as well as many national outlets such as the Huffington Post, the New York Times, was completely fabricated.
The student admitted to the police Thursday evening that she lied about the entire encounter, according to WGNO-TV. Police said they are no longer investigating the fake incident.
"During the course of the investigation, the female complainant admitted that she fabricated the story about her physical attack as well as the removal of her hijab and wallet by two white males," the Lafayette Police Department said in a press release on the matter.
However, the wheels were already set in motion. Shortly after the young student made the original allegations, "messages of love" began cropping up around the campus and UL President Joseph Savoie released a statement reminding students that the university "strives to provide an environment that nurtures healthy discourse."
The American Civil Liberties Union even commented on the now-false claim, calling on Louisianans "to reject anti-Muslim bigotry."
"Muslim Americans and residents have the same rights that we all do: to practice our religion freely and openly, to live and work without fear, and to participate equally in public life," the ACLU's statement read in part, according to KATC-TV.
It is not yet known if the police department plans to charge the student for filing a false report.