Demeaning the term “hate crime” by jumping to conclusions - updated 9/30/12
Posted Sep 30, 2012

Demeaning the term “hate crime” by jumping to conclusions

by Sheila Musaji

This past week there was in incident in Michigan that was reported as an “anti-Semitic hate crime”.  The early reports by the alleged victim, Zachary Tennen, and his family certainly made it seem that this could only be defined as a hate crime.  Here is a summary of the story that they reported:

The MSU student said that two men approached him at an off campus party, asked him if he was Jewish, and when he said yes, they said “Heil Hitler” and gave the Nazi salute and then knocked him unconscious and stapled his mouth shut while about 20 other students at the party stood by and did nothing. He said that no one helped him.  When he came to, he called a cab himself and went to the hospital.

Both the ADL and CAIR issued statements calling for a full investigation, and expressing their condemnation of such an act.

The police now have a suspect, and have said only that “Charges are expected against an 18-year-old Farmington Hills male who is accused of hitting a Michigan State University student at an off-campus party over the weekend”.  The police have not released the suspects name. 

A full investigation is still underway, but it seems as if there are discrepancies between the victims story and that being told by witnesses

According to the   The Detroit Free Press

... East Lansing Police Capt. Jeff Murphy said that while witnesses saw 19-year-old Zachary Tennen of Franklin get punched and pull a piece of metal from his mouth afterward, no witnesses have confirmed any evidence of a hate crime or that anyone had a stapler, which Tennen said was used to staple his gums.

“I don’t think this victim is lying or anything like that,” said Murphy, adding that investigators located two guests of the Spartan Avenue party that saw “a one-punch assault” against Tennen about 2:30 a.m. Sunday. “It’s just some difference of what these people saw. They’ve got front-row seats to this whole thing. And he got assaulted, and it never should have happened, and it was a serious assault. But the big thing is, people started putting out it was a hate crime, and nothing’s showing us it was a part of it.”

...  But the witnesses said they never saw a salute or heard references to Hitler or Tennen’s religion before he was hit. They also told police that they helped Tennen up, put frozen vegetables on his jaw after the attack, then walked him down the street and flagged down a cab that took him to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Murphy said.

“That’s the other person we’d really like to talk to is the cab driver, and we haven’t been able to locate him,” Murphy said. “He’d be a great witness for us, too.”

...  “He said something to the effect that he’d been stapled, but there’s nobody that saw anything like that,” Murphy said. “And the witnesses that watched the assault happen didn’t see a stapler and indicated to us there was no way the suspect could have done anything with a stapler because it was one punch to the face and the suspect left the area. We haven’t determined how he got that piece of metal in his mouth. But it was not put there by the suspect.”

The Detroit News reports that

East Lansing police Capt. Jeff Murphy said there’s no dispute Zachary Tennen, a sophomore, was seriously assaulted early Sunday and suffered a broken jaw. But Murphy said witnesses haven’t confirmed his account of being slugged after revealing he’s Jewish.  Murphy said Wednesday that detectives also have no evidence that Tennen’s mouth was stapled shut, as he maintains.

The Daily Mail reported thatThe hospital did not call the police but said that it was standard policy to alert authorities if someone reported being a victim of assault.” 

The State News reports that  “Capt. Jeff Murphy of the East Lansing Police Department, or ELPD, said no police or ambulances were called to the scene of the party early Sunday morning, and it was not until later during the day Sunday that the ELPD was notified of the incident.”

At this point in time there are a lot of facts that no one except the police and those involved in this incident are aware of, and the decent thing to do is to wait for all the facts to come in before jumping to any conclusions.  There may or may not have been a hate crime.  There was an assault, and Zachary Tennen’s jaw was broken at a party in which under age individuals were drinking.  That is all that is currently known.  When the police have completed their investigation, and if an arrest is made, we will know more about what actually happened.  I personally would think that those who own the home at which the party took place should be charged with allowing alcohol to be served to minors.  This one fact buried in many of the articles on this incident may be the single most important factor in this incident.  In fact, it is at least possible that the incident was fueled by alcohol more than by any other single factor.

There are however, some individuals who exploit such incidents in an effort to promote their own bigoted agendas.  Here are just a few examples of this sort of exploitation:

Pamela Geller commented  “Imagine if this young man had been black or Muslim. Neither MSU nor the police would dare to be so indifferent and bureaucratically mealy-mouthed.”

Daniel Greenfield, finds it offensive that the police are saying that this may not have been a hate crime, but are considering a burnt Qur’an left outside the Islamic Center of East Lansing last year to be a hate crime.  He asks:  “What’s more of a hate crime, a Jewish student whose jaw was broken… or a burnt Koran left outside a mosque?  Answering questions like these are about what we value as a civilization. Human beings or Muslim scriptures?”

David Rubin commented that he thinks he knows why police are refusing to call the incident a hate crime.  “Very often the police respond like that because they’re afraid of political attacks,” he offers. “We’re talking about Michigan State University. I think we need to remember that Michigan has a very large Muslim population. The Muslims are wielding a lot of influence these days. It would not surprise me that the two men who assaulted the Jewish student were Muslims.”

Debbie Schlussel said “Who did it? Even if the perpetrators were not Muslim, as I’ve noted time and again on this site, there has been much greater anti-Semitism around the world over the last decade-plus since 9/11, all because Muslims around the world have made it fashionable and hip to hate Jews. They’ve fostered this atmosphere. ...  So, who did this? Either Tennen won’t describe their race and ethnicity to the press, or the press is deliberately censoring those details. Why?  If they were your average White guys, we’d likely have heard about that already.”

All of these comments are totally irrational and bigoted hate speech.  Of course, any violence targeting a human being is more important than burning books.  The answer to whether or not either act was a hate crime involves investigating the incidents and determining the motives of the perpetrators and the facts of what actually happened.  How is it possible that no matter who the perpetrator is, it is Muslims who are responsible?

Todd Gutnick, the ADL director of media relations made a statement that everyone should take to heart:  “The regional office is working to find out what happened.  The ADL has not been able to determine conclusively whether or not it is a hate crime. We are still waiting for the facts to be borne out.”

UPDATE 9/30/2012

Just last week, the Algemeiner posted an online petition calling for an investigation into the nature of attacks on Zachary Tennen.  The petition had 13,000 signatures.

AP reports

Witnesses told police that a Michigan State University student whose jaw was broken at an off-campus party was slugged because he was repeatedly harassing women, not because he’s Jewish, according to a police report released Thursday after a prosecutor said no hate-crime charge would be filed.

Zach Tennen of suburban Detroit had claimed he was a victim of “religious hatred,” and his family rallied to his side as he recovered following the Aug. 26 incident in East Lansing. But others at the party offered a completely different version, telling police that Tennen, 19, had been drinking and wouldn’t keep his hands off women.

The man who delivered the punch said Tennen was “walking around to many girls at the party, rubbing up against them with his hands and asking them to hook up and kiss him,” according to a police report released to The Associated Press under a public records request.

Earlier Thursday, Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III said he would not file a hate-crime charge or a separate charge related to the jaw-breaking punch. He declined to elaborate but said police “did an extraordinary job.”

Dunnings said the well-publicized incident, and Tennen’s provocative version of what happened, could make his job harder when someone else steps forward claiming to be a victim of racial or religious bigotry.  “In the event of an actual hate crime, it might place some skepticism in the minds of the public and potential jurors,” Dunnings told the AP.

Dunnings released a Sept. 24 letter from Henry Scharg, an attorney for Tennen’s family, who said police conducted a “full and fair investigation.”  “The Tennen family ... believes that justice will be best served by closing this investigation at this time,” Scharg said.  ...  The police report summarizes interviews with numerous partygoers who said they never heard any references to Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan or anti-Semitic comments as Tennen had alleged. A woman told police she got nervous and felt that Tennen was trying to “pin her down” against a car. Moments later, she saw him on the ground with the man who delivered the punch standing over him.

Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III said that Tennen won’t face criminal charges for false reporting.

Brian Wheeler reports on Michigan Live that

Michigan State University’s reputation was dirtied twice in late August by students with wild — and from what authorities say, false — tales. Brandon Carmack said he was beaten by student athletes. Now, he faces criminal charges, accused of filing a false report, stalking an ex-girlfriend and instigating a fight.  Carmack will face consequences if found guilty in court. Not Zachary Tennen.

In a previous article Rash of Fake Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes Teaches Important Lesson discussing an increase in actual hate crimes, and also a trend towards individuals making false reports of hate crimes, I noted that

In November, the FBI released its’ hate crimes statistics report for 2010.  Some of the trends that the report noted were:

—racially motivated hate crimes accounted for a majority 47.3% of all hate crimes, and of these racially motivated crimes 70% were against blacks

— religiously motivated hate crimes accounted for about 20% of all hate crimes.  Of the hate crimes motivated by religion, anti-Semitism was the most prevalent cause, accounting for 67%, and although anti-Muslim crimes were lower than anti-Semitic hate crimes, the number of anti-Muslim crimes reported jumped by 50% from 2009 numbers.  (The ADL also released an audit of anti-Semitic hate crimes which found that they increased in 2010 for the first time since 2004.)

— sexual orientation hate crimes accounted for about 20% of all hate crimes.

— 66.6% of victims of ethnically motivated hate crimes in 2010 were “targeted because of an anti-Hispanic bias” which is a rise of 11% over 2009.

Mark Potok of the SPLC noted that Although the national statistics compiled by the FBI each year are known to dramatically understate the real level of reported and unreported hate crimes, they do offer telling indications of some trends.

The ADL expressed concerns about the numbers possibly being much larger:  The largest number of law enforcement agencies (14,977) since the start of the hate crimes annual report in 1990 participated in the 2010 collection of data. Yet, only 13 percent of these participating agencies reported a single hate crime to the FBI, which was the lowest number of agencies reporting one or more hate crimes since the 2002 report. Disturbingly, thousands of law enforcement agencies nationwide did not report to the FBI, including at least three agencies in cities with populations of 250,000 or more and at least twelve agencies in cities with populations of 100,000 to 250,000.

Hate crimes are a concern to all decent people.  Any attack on individuals or communities simply because of who they are - their ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, religion, etc. is reprehensible and barbaric.  There are people who hate others, and who attempt to intimidate or harm them, and that is despicable and deserves to be punished to the full extent of the law.  There is a reason that hate crimes are considered as even more heinous than exactly the same crime committed for some other reason.  That reason is that hate crimes frighten and intimidate not only the individual who is targeted, but the entire community of which they are a member. 

There are also individuals and organizations who feed and encourage such hatred.  For example, anti-Muslim hate groups like Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) led by Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller not only fuel the paranoia and bigotry that can lead to hate crimes - they also add an additional dimension of cruelty to further inflame tensions between communities. 

There are a number of ways that bigots can add this additional dimension of cruelty to an already hateful crime.

One method is to take actual information contained in reports like the FBI hate crime statistics for 2010 report discussed above, and attempt to manipulate and use the data to “prove” some bigoted point of view.

For example, Robert Spencer asked a Muslim “What do you have to say about the fact that FBI statistics show that there is no “Islamophobia”?”

Actually, FBI statistics do not show that there is no “Islamophobia”.  What the most recent “hate crime statistics” do show is that there have been fewer hate crimes committed against Muslims in the U.S. than there were against Jews.  Whether this might also reflect a reticence to report such crimes on the part of members of some refugee communities particularly has been discussed.  And, the same report documents the fact that the actual hate crimes against Muslims, while still lower than those against Jews, have increased by 50% over the last year.  Hate crimes statistics are only one of many possible indicators of prejudice and bigotry.

Following Spencer’s logic, we could make the following statement — There have been more hate crimes against Jews than against Muslims, therefore that proves that “there is no ‘Islamophobia.’”  There have been more hate crimes against African-Americans than against Jews, therefore that proves that “there is no ‘anti-Semitism.’”  Spencer’s argument is totally fallacious.

Other possible indicators of Islamophobia including EEOC complaints about work related discrimination, and a trend towards an increase of anti-Muslim and anti-Islam rhetoric from public figures, Christian and Jewish clergy, and even elected representatives would appear to show that this is a word describing a real phenomenon.  The very real problems that have been uncovered about anti-Muslim training of law enforcement and government personnel also point in the same direction.

Another method is to capitalize on some particular fact, and attempt to generalize that fact into a “proof” that an entire community is suspect.

One example would be taking the fact that there have been some Muslim individuals who have fabricated hate crimes for their own reasons, and attempting to generalize this to a suspicion that any hate crime reported by a Muslim is most likely false.

For example, Robert Spencer said “That’s most likely why CAIR and others have not hesitated to stoop even to fabricating “hate crimes.” They want and need hate crimes against Muslims, because they can use them as weapons to intimidate people into remaining silent about the jihad threat.”  ***  And, he also said What do you have to say about the fact that many “anti-Muslim hate crimes” have been faked by Muslims, and that Jews are eight times more likely than Muslims to be the victims of hate attacks.

For every category of hate crime there have been people who have taken advantage of an opportunity to further their own agenda and claim a hate crime where none existed.  There are hundreds of such cases.  At the bottom of this article is A LIST OF A FEW SUCH CASES OF FAKE OR HOAX HATE CRIMES.

The issue is not that there are some despicable individuals who will lie about hate crimes, but that there are far too many legitimate hate crimes against minorities.

Other methods include jumping to conclusions before the facts are in, or attempting to trivialize hate crimes committed against a group about whom you believe prejudice is justified.

Last month, there was a frightening series of molotov cocktail firebombings in New York which included a mosque.  Those bombings frightened the Muslim community, and the community was anxious until the perpetrator was caught.  At that time, I wrote:

While the police were still looking for the perpetrator, they released a sketch drawn from witness desriptions. The sketch appeared to be a young African-American man.  Pamela Geller immediately posted an article in which she lamented what she claimed was a media focus only on the mosque and not the other targets.  She posted the police sketch at the top of the article and said Here’s the a sketch of the perp; looks like a CAIR member.  Color me skeptical. We find time and time again, in the rare instances when a mosque has graffiti or falls victim to some prank, the perp is Muslim. More times than not.

...  How a sketch of the face of an African-American man would automatically “look like a CAIR member” is beyond any rational understanding.  Throwing molotov cocktails is not “some prank”.  There have been numerous instances of mosques being vandalized, shot at, firebombed, etc., and in fact, in most instances the perp was not a Muslim.  TAM has a lengthy collection of attacks on mosques HERE.  They are not “rare instances” or just “pranks”.

...  Geller’s partner, Robert Spencer wrote this NY mosque firebomber motived by “personal grievances”—will Hamas-linked CAIR apologize?  - asking both CAIR and Mayor Bloomberg to apologize for having expressed concern that this may have been a hate crime.  Actually, like his partner Pamela Geller, Spencer jumps to conclusions before all of the facts are in.  The mosque attack is still being investigated as a hate crime because of anti-Muslim statements made to the police by the alleged perpetrator.

Use of this sort of language to trivialize a serious crime is simply a sign of bigotry and heartlessness.  Attacks on any house of worship or on individuals belonging to any religious community should be a concern to all decent people.  If someone paints swastikas on a synagogue or a mosque, that is not just harmless graffiti.  Whether it is symbols like swastikas or KKK’s, or anti-Muslim, or anti-Semitic statements, or burned crosses, or nooses hanging from trees — all such symbolic acts aimed at any community are disgusting acts.

A current rash of fake anti-Semitic hate crimes displays all of these methods of adding an additional dimension of cruelty to an already hateful crime.

Over the past two months there has been a series of anti-Semitic incidents including vandalism and arson in New York and New Jersey.

This past week-end, in the heavily Orthodox Brooklyn neighborhood of Midwood anti-Semitic graffiti was found targeting two homes, an apartment building and a yeshiva.  The garage door of one family had swastikas and the words “Die Jews” painted on it.  Police also found several swastikas painted on the stairs and front door of an East 5th Street apartment building and on the basement stairs of an Ocean Parkway yeshiva.  *** 

A few days earlier there were a number of anti-Semitic attacks in northern New Jersey, including the attempted murder of a rabbi after incendiary devices were thrown at his home above a synagogue.  ...  It was the fourth anti-Semitic incident in the past month in Bergen County. On January 4, a Paramus synagogue was hit by an arson attack, and in December, two temples were vandalized.  ***  CBS reports that the police have arrested a teenager, Anthony Graziano, following their investigation into the firebombing of a Rutherford synagogue, Congregation Beth El, and the home of Rabbi Nossom Schuman and his family earlier this month.

In November, also in the Midwood neighborhood, three cars were torched and anti-Semitic graffiti was scrawled on vehicles and bus benches. 

In the case of these anti-Semitic attacks, Geller said This is hate. It’s an epidemic. And it’s happening daily across the country. The media ignores it while hand-wringing over non-existent “anti-Muslim hate crime.” Their complicity in feeding the fires of antisemitism is stomach churning. These calls for “die Jews” are constant, and the media weeps for jihadists.  She also noted that one news story had used the word “Asian” in describing the four suspects in the most recent case and said Asian? Asian as in Asian or Asian as in the euphemism for Muslim?

The car arsons in Midwood were originally considered to be a hate crime, but police are now saying that it appears that it was an insurance scam in which the Jewish perpetrators used the anti-Semitic graffiti to cover up the crime, and make it look like a hate crime.  *** also ***  also *** also *** also ***

The Village Voice posted a security camera still of the photograph of the suspects here in one of the graffiti incidents.  I can’t make out much from the photograph at all, certainly not enough to identify the perpetrators or their ethnicity. 

Actually, it now turns out that this rash of vandalism and threats may also have been fake hate crimes.  According to the New York Times

The police said Monday that they had charged David Haddad, 56, of Penn South with aggravated harassment as a hate crime in connection with those acts. The police said that Mr. Haddad is himself Jewish, and that he knew all the victims, at least two of whom are his relatives.

The police are also investigating whether Mr. Haddad painted swastikas on buildings over the weekend in Midwood, Brooklyn, where the police said Mr. Haddad has family, too.  The threats appear to be the latest incidents among a number of anti-Semitic acts attributed to people whose true motives may not have been to harm Jews.

No rational human being would blame the American Jewish community for the criminals committing fake hate crimes.  No rational human being would conclude that any hate crime reported by a member of the American Jewish community should be suspect because individuals who are Jewish had carried out fake hate crimes. 

I personally would like to see fake hate crimes treated by the legal system as equally as harmful as actual hate crimes, and be given as harsh a sentence.  Fake hate crimes are themselves hate crimes.  Certainly, they have the same result of frightening entire communities until the culprits are caught. 

There is nothing we can do about individuals like Geller and Spencer who simply distort the meaning of hate crimes or hate crime statistics, or in some cases even accuse innocent individuals of such crimes for no reason but the fact that they are Muslims.

However, we can point out to all individuals who care about attempting to create a society in which we all live together in peace, that all of these methods of adding cruelty on top of hate are wrong.

As I have said previously Pamela Geller’s Islamophobia is clouding her judgement about how closely anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and all other forms of bigotry are linked.  Encouraging and condoning bigotry towards any minority ultimately can come to hurt all minorities.  Her ravings against Islam and Muslims are appealing to a certain segment of the population who need to have someone to blame and to look down on.  It is if she is taking a stick and sticking it into a hive of hornets and shaking it around and hoping she can control who those hornets sting. 

Colm O’Broin wrote an article in which he compared ten statements by ‘anti-jihad’ writer Robert Spencer and Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher to show the similarities between anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

I pray that those who are involved in the business of not only fueling the paranoia and bigotry that can lead to hate crimes - but also adding an additional dimension of cruelty to further inflame tensions between communities, stop and consider the terrible consequences of their words.  Based on past performance, this sort of self-reflection is doubtful.  However, the rest of us need to at least let them know that we find what they are doing reprehensible.

The lesson to be learned is that hate hurts, and it hurts not only those who are hated, but also those who hate. 

UPDATE 5/24/2012

Pamela Geller just can’t stop herself from spewing hatred.  Once again she claims not only that law enforcement agencies are ” covering up for Muslim “Hate Crime” Murderers”, but also that Muslim claims of hate crimes (true or false) are “an islamic pattern to create fictional victims and then blame innocent non-Muslims.”  Geller again raises questions about the Shaima Alawady case which police are still investigating and speaks as if she has inside information about what actually happened.  She also raises the case of the death of Fatima Abdullah in Florida which was ruled an accidental death, but which Geller believes to have been an “honor killing” covered up by the authorities.

No one other than Pamela Geller has enough facts to draw any conclusions about what kind of a crime Shaima Alawady’s murder is - a hate crime, an honor killing, a domestic murder case, or something else entirely.  There are a lot of questions based on the information that has been released so far, but media reports may or may not be accurate.  No one has been arrested or tried.  Whatever happened,  whatever the motive, whoever is responsible for this brutal murder needs to be found, tried, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. 

Making wild accusations, encouraging her readers to complain to law enforcement about this “cover up”, and blaming Muslim individuals and organizations who believe that this might have been a hate crime and even saying that “Her blood is on their hands” does no one any good. 

UPDATE 6/29/2012

Yesterday, in New York City, someone used pink and black markers to write graffiti on a bench at the World Trade Center Memorial.  The marking read “Allah Wakbar”.  At this point that is all that anyone knows.  No one knows who did it.  It is written in English and spelled strangely, which could mean any number of things about the person who wrote this.  CBS local reports that The incident happened not long after a group of students from a Brooklyn school were kicked out of the memorial after throwing items, including trash into the reflecting pools.

That it was a hateful thing to do is clear.  It was quickly washed away.  Robert Spencer reported on this calling it Islamic Hate Graffiti and providing his supposition about the person who did it “Allah Wakbar” looks like a native Arabic speaker who is not too familiar with English attempting to render “Allahu akbar.” The incident happened not long after a group of students from a Brooklyn school were kicked out of the memorial after throwing items, including trash into the reflecting pools.  His partner, Pamela Geller called it Islamic Vandalism

It seems that the lessons to be learned about hate and hate crimes, remain unlearned by the Islamophobes.



There are hundreds of such cases.  Here are just a few: 

— In Florida LB Williams, a 50-year-old black man, his wife of nearly seven years Donna Williams, who is white, and their bi-racial daughter found a cross burning in their driveway.  This was reported and investigated as a hate crime, but it turned out that Mr. Williams faked the whole thing in an attempt to stave off a divorce.

— In Anderson, California, a black high school student staged a fake hate crime because she was angry with her father for not picking her up on time.

— Dr. Kerri Dunn, a Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology at Claremont McKenna College in Southern California, and a convert to Judaism was seen by two witnesses applying ‘racist, anti—Semitic and sexist epithets’ to her car.

— Bethany Storro admitted to police that she staged an acid attack on herself and claimed it was a black attack on a white woman in Vancouver, Washington.

— Trinity International University near Deerfield, Ill., evacuated some classes after anonymous letters threatened minority students with gunfire. A black female 20-year-old student was eventually convicted of felony disorderly conduct and ordered into counseling for creating the letters. Police told the Chicago Tribune that she had been unhappy at the school and hoped the threats would persuade her parents to let her leave.

— At Northwestern University, a student who described himself as biracial admitted to putting anti-Hispanic graffiti on a wall near his dorm room and filing a false report of racial harassment and a knife attack.

— Safia Z. Jilani faked an anti-Muslim hate crime at Elmhurst college

— Quinn Matney faked an anti-gay hate crime at University of North Carolina—ar-949353/

— Ryan Grant Watson filed a fake hate crime report claiming a black attacker yelled a gay slur at him and punched him in the face.

— GWU student reporter Sarah Marshak was caught on tape faking anti-Semitic hate against herself by drawing swastikas on her door.

— 3 black students staged fake anti-African-American hate crime at the University of Mississippi, Oxford Campus

— Sandra Benson and Freeman Berry defaced their home in Jonesboro, Georgia, with racial slurs and set the house on fire in an attempt to collect more than $300,000 in insurance money for the home and personal property supposedly destroyed in the fire. The couple claimed they were targeted because Benson, a white woman, lived with a black man.

— Al Rubin and his son Steven were sentenced to prison for arranging to have the Hillel Community Day School, where Steven worked, vandalized with anti-Semitic slogans. The pair aimed to profit from the expected repair work. 

— An Iranian-American woman in Fargo, N.D., reported that assailants had carved a swastika into her stomach and burned down her family’s restaurant. Less than two weeks later, she was arrested on arson and related charges. She was ultimately found not guilty “due to lack of criminal responsibility” and was committed to a psychiatric institution.

— DeWayne Byrdsong, a black minister in Coralville, Iowa, claimed his Mercedes-Benz had been spray-painted with racial slurs.  However, local body shops reported that Byrdsong had been seeking repainting estimates before the alleged crime occurred. He was found guilty of making a false report to authorities.”

— Matthew Porter of Williamsport, Pa., was found guilty of arson and fraud in an attempt to collect $60,000 in insurance money. During the trial, prosecutors presented documents that Porter, a former federal prison counselor, sent to the wardens of three federal prisons and a local police chief and left at the crime scene, intended to show that the Ku Klux Klan was behind the fire.

— Angela Jackson of Chicago, an art distributor, was indicted in connection with a scheme to make it appear as though racist UPS employees were damaging with racial epithets packages being sent to her that contained art work. She was accused of mailing the packages herself as part of an elaborate scheme in which she also mailed similarly defaced packages to notables such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson, his son U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush and Kweisi Mfume, among others. She also wrote to prominent black Members of Congress, seeking assistance in collecting from UPS, which she claimed damaged the entire African-American community through its actions.

— In Cooper City, Fla., Jerry and Jamie Roedel were accused of defacing their home with swastikas and other signs of vandalism to cover up a burglary they apparently staged themselves. The crime sparked an anti-hate rally that drew more than 500 people to a local synagogue. The face of Jerry, who is Jewish, was blacked out of family photographs. Jamie filed a $48,000 claim with her insurer and collected $28,000.;page=139 

—  Princeton University student and anti-gay activist Francisco Nava faked a hate crime claiming he was beaten and threatened because of his conservative political views.

— Angela D. Wilburn, the wife of Ozarks Minutemen founder and militant Missouri anti-immigration activist Brian Wilburn, called 911 to report that three brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking men had broken into her mobile home. One of the intruders, she reported, had raped her and then shot her in the knee.  But three days after Nava’s tale of masked leftists fell apart, Wilburn admitted her story was equally false, explaining she’d accidentally shot herself with her husband’s gun while investigating a suspicious noise. There was no rape, no break-in, and no men with brown skin.

—Memphis police officer Sgt. Norman Benjamin described his shooter as a Hispanic man who stole his gun, then pulled the trigger.  Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong later said investigators believed Benjamin actually had been shot during a domestic argument by a woman with whom he was romantically involved.