AAPD releases updates on three reported hate crimes

Monday, February 13, 2017 - 4:12pm

More like this

Updates regarding three hate crimes that occurred at the end of last year have been released by the Ann Arbor Police Department. Following the conclusion of a joint investigation with the FBI, AAPD and the Division of Public Safety and Security, two of the three crimes were deemed as being falsely reported and the other investigation is currently inactive because of lack of information.

The first incident, which took place on Nov. 11, involved a student who reported being approached by a man who demanded she remove her hijab or he would set her on fire. It was later determined, citing several discrepancies between eyewitness testimonies and surveillance tapes from the scene, the alleged crime did not occur. According to a press release from the AAPD, the student will not be prosecuted for the false report.

“Washtenaw County Prosecutor's office declined to authorize criminal charges,” Lt. Matthew Lige wrote in the press release email.

The second incident occurred the following day, when a student reported being verbally assaulted and then pushed down a hill. While the victim and witness statements were deemed credible, the investigation is no longer active due to lack of information regarding the assailant.

“The area where the assault occurred did not have independent video of the incident,” Lige wrote. “No suspects could be identified as the victim was unable to describe the assailant beyond a vague clothing and physical description. At this time, this investigation is inactive.”

The third incident involved a woman who reported being assaulted by a man who scratched her face with a safety pin while she was walking on Liberty Street. The incident was heavily investigated by both AAPD detectives and FBI agents, who concluded the report was false and the crime did not occur.

Investigators found numerous inconsistencies in the victim’s statement and there was no surveillance footage of the crime to support the report. In response, detectives have submitted a warrant request for criminal charges against the Ann Arbor resident who made the false report.  

“This incident originally reported was a misdemeanor assault,” Lige wrote. “A criminal penalty for a false police report would also be a misdemeanor.”