WASHINGTON, D.C. — Though little reported by the mainstream media, the U.S. has been hit by a series of “fake hate crimes,” also known as “hate crime hoaxes,” that have created a perplexing new set of circumstances for state and local law enforcement.
These cases of “fake hate crimes” have become particularly incendiary since Hillary Clinton famously characterized Trump supporters as a “Basket of Deplorables,” at a New York fundraiser during the campaign, stating, “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately, there are people like that. And he [Donald Trump] has lifted them up.”
Ironically, the fact that the U.S. is experiencing this wave of “hoax hate crimes” suggests that racial animosity — which began subsiding in the 1960s — has continued to subside to the point where perpetrators must commit crimes in order to make whites seem hateful, when most whites have long rejected racial discrimination as abhorrent.
The twisted psychology of the hoax hate crime perpetrator involves a minority person willing to commit a crime, believing that blaming majority whites will somehow validate the political narrative that “white supremacists” are growing in number and becoming increasingly dangerous.
The burden of setting the record straight falls to law enforcement authorities — they must investigate each crime as a legitimate hate crime until they are able to establish incontrovertible evidence that it was in fact a hoax.
As the following two examples make clear, the perpetrators of fake hate crimes have to be capable of staging a crime that the victims will initially assume was committed by a white supremacist, causing a shocked reaction from the offended community, often accompanied by protest demonstrations and marches, and the victims demanding the hate criminal be apprehended and punished.
Four Black Churches Vandalized in Morristown, New Jersey
On November 25, 2017, the glass marquee signs posting notices of church services outside four African-American churches in Morristown, New Jersey, were vandalized.
“Whoever’s doing this, we want this classified as a hate crime,” Pastor Sidney Williams Jr. of Bethel A.M.E. Church told the Morristown Green. “We’re concerned about the safety of our members. Someone targeted African American churches, and went out of their way to do so.”
The Morristown Green reported that the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office had begun an active investigation of the damage. “Authorities are taking these incidents ‘very seriously,’ Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty added. The Rev. Jerry Castor, pastor for 27 years of one of the churches affected, told the newspaper he has never seen multiple churches vandalized in Morristown, an affluent community 45 minutes west of New York City.
Within hours, police examining stationary video camera evidence identified the perpetrator as an African-American male who was a former congregant of one of the churches. A 45-year-old man, who had attended one of the churches as a child, was arrested and charged with four fourth-degree counts of criminal mischief and one third-degree count of criminal mischief.
“As a result of the investigation, no evidence was obtained that would indicate this was a biased incident which legally requires purpose to intimidate a person or group based on their protected class,” Fredric M. Knapp, the Morris County prosecutor, explained to the Morristown Daily Record.
While this case may have been motivated by a personal incident that affected the perpetrator as a former congregant, the incident still created an emotional reaction from Morristown’s minority population. “That they are all African-American churches causes an immediate sense of outrage in people of faith throughout Morris County, and especially for us as religious leaders,” Rev. Cynthia L. Black, rector of the Church of the Redeemer on South Street in Morristown and president of the Morris Area Clergy Council, told the Morristown Daily Record.
“Since the political rise of Donald Trump, the Left has ramped up their coverage of ‘hate crimes,’ many of which have been uncovered to be perpetrated by hoaxers looking to advance a false victimhood narrative,” wrote Amanda Prestigiacomo in the Daily Wire about the Morristown church vandalism incident. “The latest string of ‘hate crimes’ discovered to be a hoax comes to us from New Jersey, where it turns out a black male vandalized five black churches, for which there is video surveillance evidence,” the Daily Wire article continued. “At the time of the attacks, the Left hyped the incidents as evidence of their grim narrative of an America plagued by constant racial targeting, particularly against minorities. In other words, the ‘hate crimes’ helped bolster the Left’s drive to divide the country by race.”
Even the New Jersey governor-elect got into the act. “Disgusted by reported vandalism of African-American churches across Morristown,” governor-elect Phil Murray, a Democrat, tweeted on November 26, 2017. “These cowardly acts will not shake our faith. They will renew our determination to come together as one NJ.”
University Vandalized With Racist Hate Remarks
At approximately 9:00 a.m. local time on September 20, 2016, a professor found the hate messages “KKK” and “Leave [N-word plural]” spray-painted in black on the outside west wall of Eastern Michigan University’s (EMU) King Residence Hall. By 10:30 a.m, university workers were using power-sprays to remove the racially offending insults. University President James Smith released a statement reassuring parents, faculty, and students: “The University strongly condemns such a racist and thoughtless act, which runs completely counter to the values and welcoming environment of our highly diverse Eastern Michigan University community.”
The next day, Eastern Michigan University protesters joined with Black Lives Matter organizers to gather at the scene of the spray-painting incident. “I am highly upset about the actions that took place on this wall,” said Zachery Badger-House, an EMU student. “I want answers. I want to know what EMU is going to do outside of just removing the writing. These are the type of hate crimes we are just sick of. I want to know how is EMU going to make me feel comfortable to be at this institution.”
Then, on October 31, 2016, another incident occurred at EMU when “Leave N******” was spray-painted on Ford Hall in letters five-feet wide and two-feet deep. EMU President Jim Smith said the incident was receiving the full attention of EMU police. “There is no place on our campus for these kinds of hateful actions and I am deeply angry and saddened that it occurred,” Smith said in an email. “Our police officers continue to investigate the incidents in late September. They have responded to many tips and continue to actively pursue them. The $5,000 reward for the previous incident is now being doubled to $10,000 and will apply to this incident as well.”
One year later, on October 24, 2017, Eddie Curlin, a 29-year-old African-American who attended EMU from 2014 to 2016, was arrested and arraigned in Washtenaw County District Court on three counts of malicious destruction of property, four counts of identity theft, and one count of using computers to commit a crime in connection with the racist vandalism that took place on the EMU campus in the 2016 fall term. Police said Curlin was not a student at the time of his arrest and that his motivation was totally personal.
At the time of being charged for the EMU graffiti attacks, Curlin was in custody of the Michigan Department of Corrections serving a one-year sentence on an unrelated charge of receiving and concealing stolen property.
“As far as his motivation for this [the racist graffiti attacks at EMU], it was totally self-serving,” EMU Police Chief Robert Heighes said at a press conference after Curlin was arrested. “It was not driven by race. It was an individual item done by one individual for all three of the major graffiti incidents on our campus.” In addition to the spray-painting incidents, a third incident took place during EMU’s 2017 spring term in which a racist message was found in a men’s restroom stall on campus.
Identifying and Quantifying Hate Crimes
On November 13, 2017, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program released Hate Crime Statistics, 2016 as its latest annual compilation of bias-motivated incidents reported throughout the United States.
This FBI report documented that law enforcement agencies reported 6,121 criminal incidents that were motivated by bias against race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, or gender identity – otherwise known as hate crimes.
Of the 6,121 criminal incidents reported, 6,063 were single-bias incidents (there were also 58 multiple-bias incidents). Of the single-bias incidents:
• 57.5 percent were motivated by a race, ethnicity, or ancestry bias;
• 21.0 percent were motivated by a religious bias;
• 17.7 percent were motivated by a sexual orientation bias; and
• The remaining incidents were motivated by a gender identity, disability, or gender bias.
In 2015, the FBI UCR identified 5,818 hate crimes; in 2014, the FBI UCR identified 5,478 hate crimes; and in 2013, the FBI UCR identified 5,928 hate crimes.
Investigator Laird Wilcox, author of Crying Wolf, a book on fake hate crimes, has created a database of 331 fake hate crimes going back to the 1990s, with some 100 of the cases occurring in the years 2014-2016.
Wilcox’s database makes it clear that fake hate crimes, while a serious problem, are but a significant fraction of the hate crimes committed annually in the United States.
Taking Hoax Hate Crimes Seriously
The incident that drew national attention to the phenomenon of hoax hate crimes occurred last September, when five black students reported racial slurs posted outside their dormitory rooms at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School in Colorado.
The incident drew nationwide media attention that centered around a powerful speech Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria gave to all 4,000 cadets at the academy, in which Silveria made clear the Air Force Academy would not tolerate racism. “If you cannot treat someone with dignity and respect, get out,” Silveria told the cadets. The speech was posted on YouTube and went viral, registering more than one million views.
It turned out that one of the cadet candidates who was targeted by the racist remarks was actually responsible for the act. The individual admitted responsibility that was validated by the investigation the Air Force and local law enforcement authorities had conducted.
Jeremey C. Hunt, a 24-year-old writer and commentator who currently serves as an active-duty U.S. Army officer, provided insight into the Air Force Academy hoax hate crime, writing the following:
Of course, there will be people who make up racial strife when they know the press is itching for their next story. Each instance of racism is fresh fodder to fuel their narrative about how America is mired in white supremacy.
The media use the same pattern every time. A minority gets mistreated at a coffee shop. The media makes a celebrity out of the victim. The story triggers a national debate and Americans rush to their ideological corners — leaving a whole country divided over one person’s bad experience at a coffee shop. The media wins and America loses.
While fake hate crimes are a relatively new phenomenon, law enforcement officers are well advised to investigate before rushing to judgment. This was illustrated by President Trump’s reluctance to comment on the yet unsolved case of the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, which was bombed on August 5, 2017.
Almost immediately, Minnesota’s Democratic Party Governor Mark Dayton called the bombing “an act of terrorism.” But White House national security aide Sebastian Gorka was more cautious, noting the White House would wait until the FBI’s investigation was finalized before commenting on the incident.
"There's a great rule: all initial reports are false. You have to check them, you have to find out who the perpetrators are," Gorka explained to the Washington Examiner. "We've had a series of crimes committed, alleged hate crimes, by right-wing individuals in the last six months that turned out to actually have been propagated by the Left."
When asked why Trump was quick to comment on other attacks, Gorka said it was "unequivocally clear" those incidents were terrorism.
"When someone shouts ‘Allahu Akbar' as they are stabbing a police officer, it's pretty clear it's not a case of a mafia robbing the bank," Gorka responded. "When people fake hate crimes in the last six months with some regularity, it's wise to find out what exactly is going on before you make statements, when they could turn out to be not who you are expecting."
In conclusion, the danger with hoax hate crimes is that political activists are becoming so determined to prove that crimes of “social injustice” are rampant in American society, that they commit crimes that no one in the majority community had ever contemplated committing.
Careful and cautious police work is a must in order to prevent these fake hate crimes from inflaming communities that may be otherwise be absent of hate.
Black activists contriving to paint racist slogans on a university wall, or Muslims that would bomb a mosque, are the same in that in each case, the political activist is willing to attack their own people in order to intensify feelings of hate and fear among blacks, or among Muslims, while drawing public sympathy and aggressive police response targeted at vilifying the supposed criminal assailants in the majority white community.
As evidence of fake hate crimes become more prevalent, police must be trained to not overreact or rush to judgment in their efforts to investigate and apprehend culprits. Mayors or police chiefs who overreact to initial reports of hate crimes may create riots before realizing they were tricked by psychologically clever criminals willing to injure or otherwise damage citizens in order to cast blame on innocent majority whites within the community.
Graphic: VladSt/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images
This article was originally published by the Law Enforcement Charitable Foundation, Inc., and appears here with permission.