US

Hijab-wearing student claimed white man threatened to burn her. Then police dug a little deeper.

Image source: YouTube screen cap

Just days after Republican Donald Trump was elected president, the University of Michigan campus was abuzz about a reported hate crime against a student wearing a hijab.

And what a story it was.

The reports said that a white male approached the woman off-campus in Ann Arbor the evening of Nov. 11 and demanded she remove her hijab — a head scarf often worn by Muslim women — or he'd set her on fire with a lighter. The original police alert indicated she complied and left the area.

The description of the white male was fairly detailed: 20-30 years old, average height, athletic build, bad body odor, unkempt appearance, intoxicated with slurred speech, police said.

On the day after the reported incident, 200 students and professors and local residents rallied on campus against bigotry and misogyny and urged reporting instances of intimidation, MLive reported.

"We're going to have to stick together to stop all kinds of racism," junior Haleemah Aqel said, according to the outlet. "It's hard when your identity affects you every day."

By Nov. 14, Ann Arbor police classified the reported incident as ethnic intimidation and was soon working with campus police — as well as the FBI.

“We do consider this a hate crime,” Diane Brown, public information officer for the university’s Division of Public Safety and Security, told the Washington Post shortly after the incident.

"I am currently building a coalition of elected officials who will fight to make our community a safe space from the devastating racism, sexism and xenophobia that Trump has empowered," state Rep.-elect Yousef Rabhi of Ann Arbor told MLive in a separate story.

The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations offered a similar assessment, saying the “alleged attack is just the latest anti-Muslim incident reported since the election of Donald Trump as president,” the Detroit Free Press reported.

And wouldn't you know, after all that, Ann Arbor detectives concluded the story was fabricated.

"Investigators conducted witness interviews and reviewed multiple surveillance videos of the area in question," the updated report read. "During the course of the investigation, numerous inconsistencies in the statements provided by the alleged victim were identified. Following a thorough investigation, detectives have determined the incident in question did not occur."

There were no witnesses in connection to the reported incident, Ann Arbor Police Detective Lt. Matthew Lige told MLive Wednesday, adding that the woman in question doesn't appear in any surveillance video.

"Detectives reviewed hours of surveillance video," Lige told the outlet. "We could not find her on any video. They just weren't there."

Police said the still-unidentified woman could be charged with filing a false police report, MLive reported.

"Sending it to the prosecutor's office is standard procedure when the investigation has revealed the incident as reported was false, and the person who reported knows it's false," Lige added to the outlet.

In addtion, a felony charge could be coming at the woman since the crime she reported — ethnic intimidation — is a felony, MLive reported.

Similar reports on the heels of Trump's election also have been found to be false.

(H/T: The Daily Wire)

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