Since the election of President Donald Trump one year ago, the number of hate crimes being reported has jumped off the charts.
But after police have time to investigate, they find many of the reports turn out to be unsubstantiated, or outright false.
The latest case of fake hate was meant to make victims of five black students at the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School in Colorado Springs in September. Racist slurs written on a student message board triggered a stern response from the superintendent telling bigoted cadets to “get out.” That speech went viral on social media and was held up as an example of righteous indignation against the new racism of “Donald Trump’s America.”
“If you’re outraged by those words, you’re in the right place. That kind of behavior has no place at the prep school, it has no place at USAFA and it has no place in the Air Force. You should be outraged not only as an airman but as a human being,” said a stern-faced Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria as he lectured cadets and staff in a video that garnered more than 1.2 million views on YouTube. He then connected the racial slurs to “the backdrop of what’s going on in our country, things like Charlottesville and Ferguson, and the protests in the NFL.”
Now, more than two months later, the truth comes out. The alleged evil act was a fabrication, a complete hoax, perpetrated by one of the alleged victims, the academy confirmed on Tuesday.
If he had any remorse or embarrassment for having fallen for a hoax, Lt. Gen. Silveria did not show it when asked Tuesday about the incident. In fact, he doubled down, saying he stood by his speech in a statement to the Colorado Springs Gazette.
“Regardless of the circumstances under which those words were written, they were written, and that deserved to be addressed,” he said. “You can never over-emphasize the need for a culture of dignity and respect – and those who don’t understand those concepts, aren’t welcome here.”
The Air Force Academy hoax wasn’t even the only fake hate crime uncovered this week.
In another incident on Monday, racist graffiti painted on car at Kansas State University was acknowledge by police to be a fraud.
Riley County Police reported Monday afternoon that the owner of the car, Dauntarius Williams, 21, of Manhattan, admitted to detectives he was responsible for the racist graffiti.
The N-word was written with yellow paint across the rear windshield of the car. Other racially offensive language – “Whites Only,” “Die” and “Date your own kind” – was also painted on the windshield and side doors of the car.
After learning that Williams had defaced his own vehicle, Riley County Police Director Brad Schoen and the Riley County Attorney Barry Wilkerson “held a series of conversations,” according to the Kansas City Star. The FBI was called in to investigate the purported hate crime, wasting untold amounts of taxpayer dollars.
Reports of the incident led black students on the campus to call a meeting that evening to talk about possible racism near the K-State campus.
Andrew Hammond, a journalism student at K-State and one of the first to tweet out photos of Williams’ car, told The Star Monday evening he was “outraged and hurt” to learn about the fraud.
Williams apologized for his “prank,” and that was enough for the police, who decided not to charge him for making a false crime report.
Meanwhile, the Council on American-Islamic Relations keeps a running tab of hate crimes against American Muslims it calls its “Islamophobia Watch” and routinely declares that anti-Muslim crimes have reached record levels in Trump’s America.
The problem with the CAIR judgments against Americans is that they accept the accusations of Muslims at face value, never working to corroborate the accusations, many of which never get verified as actual crimes by non-Muslims against Muslims.
Take, for example, the Aug. 7 explosion of a small ordnance at the Islamic Center of Bloomington, Minnesota. Gov. Mark Dayton immediately called it an act of terrorism directed at Muslims, parroting the accusations of CAIR. But three months later, police still have no suspects or explanations for who may have thrown the explosive device into the window of the imam’s office at a time when the office was vacant.
Other fake hate crimes attributed to Trump enthusiasts over the past year include:
- A female Muslim student accused a white man of pulling off her hijab at the University of Louisiana Lafayette. It was later outted as a made-up story, but police protected the Muslim woman, refusing to identify her by name and never charging her with a crime.
- Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani of Cary, N.C., said he planned to leave the United States after an Islamophobic assault on his son following harassment by neighbors who named-checked Trump. School officials say there is no evidence that attack ever happened.
- A gay man in Santa Monica claimed to have been assaulted by Trump partisans, but the attack seems not to have happened.
- The San Francisco homeowner who raised a swastika flag was not a Trump supporter but a Trump opponent, National Review reported.
- Two black students were charged with painting pro-KKK graffiti at the University of Miami.
- Terroristic bomb threats made in March 2017 against Muslim students at Concordia University in Montreal turned out to come not from right-wing “Islamophobes” as first thought but from a Lebanese immigrant named Hisham Saadi, according to a report by CBC News.
- Anti-Arab graffiti on the home of an Arab family in Ohio was put there by a man named Osama Nazzal, according to National Review.
This is just a brief taste of the fake news feeding frenzy that the mainstream media appear all too willing to participate in if they can be used to take a swipe at the Trump administration and its supporters. After police determine the accusations were false, typically months later, the damage is irreversible.
FakeHateCrimes.org keeps a running tally of fake hate crimes nationwide and in Canada, with links to local media reports.