Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Playing the Race Card on a College Campus: Another Fake Hate Crime

From Inside Higher Ed:
Many campuses experience bigoted incidents of various types, but for many years now, hoaxes have emerged as well. Typically these cases involve undergraduates who make charges and — after some period of time — are found to have faked whatever it is they said happened to them. The fake hate crimes tend to frustrate just about everybody on campus. Minority students worry that truthful complaints in the future will be doubted. College officials bemoan wasted time and money investigating a fake report, and damage done to the reputation of the institution or individuals.

When a fake report is filed with the police, it is also can be a violation of the law. A gay student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was charged last month with filing a false police report after authorities determined that he had made up his story of being attacked for being gay — a story that generated considerable concern on the campus.

Another hoax was uncovered last week at the University of Virginia — and in this case, the university is being criticized for opting not to press charges against the black law student who made up a story about police harassment in the form of apparent racial profiling. The student — Johnathan Perkins — is scheduled to receive his degree May 22.

Perkins made his allegations in a letter to the editor of the U.Va. law school’s student newspaper, Virginia Law Weekly. He sent a copy to the university’s police department, which treated the essay as a formal complaint. Perkins described walking home from a bar review session and being stopped by the flashing lights of a University of Virginia police car. Two white officers, he said, questioned him, told him that he “fit the description of someone we’re looking for,” made fun of him as a law student, frisked and searched him, refused to give their names and badge numbers, and then followed him home after saying he was free to leave.

Invoking the names of victims of police brutality, such as Abner Louima, Perkins wrote that he knew he could not resist. “I knew that there would be no remedy for the indignity that I suffered at the hands of two of the University of Virginia’s ‘finest.’” he wrote. “As I stood there, humiliated, with my hands on the police car, my only thought was: ‘There is nothing I can do to right this wrong. I have absolutely no recourse.’ I hope that sharing this experience will provide this community with some much needed awareness of the lives that many of their black classmates are forced to lead.”

As soon as the letter was published, the university’s police department began an investigation, bringing in some outside experts to assist. Perkins gave several interviews to local reporters, and many students said that they were outraged by the way he said he had been treated.

On Friday, however, the university released a statement announcing that the investigation found that Perkins had made up the story. The university’s statement (not available on the university’s website, but posted on the Virginia Law Weekly’s Facebook page) quoted Perkins (without naming him) as saying that he fabricated the story. “I wrote the article to bring attention to the topic of police misconduct,” he said in a written statement. “The events in the article did not occur.”

The university said that its investigation included a review of all relevant dispatch records, personnel rosters, police radio tapes, surveillance video from the university’s cameras and those of businesses near where the incident was alleged to have taken place, and interviews with Perkins. The university said that Perkins cooperated in interviews and admitted the fabrication as the “facts of his story came into question.”

The part of the statement that has attracted the most discussion was a quote from Michael A. Gibson, the chief of police at Virginia, who announced that he would not press criminal or other charges.

“I recognize that police misconduct does occur,” he said. “Pressing charges in this case might inhibit another individual who experiences real police misconduct from coming forward with a complaint. I want to send the message just how seriously we take such charges and that we will always investigate them with care and diligence.”
Of course, the message is also that playing the race card, even to the point about lying about an incident to the police, is excused if a politically correct minority does it.

None of this is new.

According to the Los Angeles Times:
Several researchers say the liberal atmosphere at many of the nation’s colleges creates an environment ripe for deception.

“There’s the preconception that if a charge is made, it’s true,” said John Perazzo, author of “The Myths that Divide Us.”

“One common thread running through many such incidents is the accuser’s sense of victimhood.”
One can file this, of course, under “the corruptions of political correctness.”

Of course, bogus claims of victimization poison academia as much as genuine victimization would. Genuine victimization of minorities is everywhere met with condemnation — no excuses allowed. That’s the morally healthy response.

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Anonymous James Pawlak said...

Perhaps someone should alert the Virginia Bar of this matter. I did so.

12:52 PM  

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