A University of Michigan student who told police in November that a man threatened to set her hijab on fire could face charges after investigators discovered she fabricated the entire story, police announced Wednesday.
According to a statement from the Ann Arbor Police Department, detectives worked along with the U-M Division of Public Safety and the FBI to investigate the case, which had been classified as ethnic intimidation.
“Investigators conducted witness interviews and reviewed multiple surveillance videos of the area in question,” the department said. “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.”
The student has not been publicly identified by police, but investigators said a completed investigation will be submitted to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office for review, according to the release.
The student initially claimed the incident happened Nov. 11 when a man allegedly demanded she remove her hijab, a headscarf often worn by Muslim women, or be set on fire with a lighter.
The woman told police she complied, according to a crime alert from the university’s division of public safety.
The university at the time called it a hate crime and said the off-campus incident occurred in the 600 block of East William, near State Street.
After the incident, the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for the incident to be investigated as a hate crime, saying the “alleged attack is just the latest anti-Muslim incident reported since the election of Donald Trump as president.”
The student made the report during a post-election increase in reports of threats, intimidation and racially charged violence around the country.
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