A woman in Dearborn, Michigan, has been charged with filing a false police report after she allegedly called in a fake bomb threat to a Dearborn high school.
Saida Chatti made the threat after the Paris attacks which killed over 130 in November.
Chatti “contacted the Dearborn Police Department to report that an ‘anonymous’ friend had overheard a group of individuals at Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi threatening to bomb Fordson High School in retaliation for the attacks in Paris” Dearborn police said in a press release.
When police investigated however, they found little evidence to support her claim. “We get a number of threats against Dearborn, mostly from people on Twitter and Facebook, especially after high-profile events like Paris, because of our Muslim population,” Dearborn police investigator Lt. Ron Beggs told The Detroit News. “So we take these very seriously.”
“We expended a lot of resources to investigate this woman’s claim. It became apparent there were holes in her story. When we presented her with the evidence, she admitted it was a false report.”
Her motive for faking the report is not yet known. If convicted she faces up to five years in prison.
Incidents of false reports not only waste police resources but make it harder for police to identify genuine threats. In December 2015 a Muslim taxi driver was shot (he survived) by a passenger who had been ranting about ISIS in Pittsburgh. Also in December a store owner in Queens, New York, was beaten by a man saying “I kill Muslims” and a mosque in California was torched and a man arrested and charged with an anti-Muslim hate crime. These are just a few incidents of the hate crimes against Muslims that reportedly tripled after the San Bernardino and Paris attacks.
Although small in number, hate crimes against Muslims are a serious issue and false threats like this one make people that much less likely to respond when a real attack takes place.
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