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Hijab-wearing student who concocted hate crime hoax after Trump election won't face charges

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Prosecutors have declined to press charges against a hijab-wearing University of Michigan student who police said made up a hate crime she blamed on a white man just three days after Republican Donald Trump was elected president.

The school's student newspaper, the Michigan Daily, noted a news release from Ann Arbor police indicating that the Washtenaw County prosecutor's office "declined to authorize criminal charges" against the student.

Her claim was that on the evening of Nov. 11 a white male approached her off-campus in Ann Arbor 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 student's description of the white male in question was fairly detailed: 20 to 30 years old, average height, athletic build, bad body odor, unkempt appearance and intoxicated with slurred speech.

Police soon characterized the claim as ethnic intimidation, and outrage on campus that began after Trump's election intensified.

But after Ann Arbor police looked into the matter further — with help from the FBI and campus police — they concluded the student made it up.

“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.”

Steven Hiller, chief assistant prosecutor, told the College Fix the office "will not comment further on this case.”

After the hoax was uncovered in December, police said the 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,” Ann Arbor Police Detective Lt. Matthew Lige told the outlet.

A felony charge also could have been filed against the woman since the crime she reported — ethnic intimidation — is itself a felony, MLive added.

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