Small college town doesn’t want to waste money and resources on fake hate crime report.
The courts in Johnson County in Iowa have decided not to charge a University of Iowa student for lying about a hate crime committed against him.
Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness said:
“If we were going to charge him, we could charge a variety of other people with disorderly conduct or different things (concerning this incident). And it seemed more important to the community to get the information out on what had happened.”
Marcus Owen, 19, claimed three white men assaulted him and shouted racial slurs at him on April 30 outside of a bar. He eventually left a hospital with “nearly a dozen stitches to his lip, had a damaged eye socket and had his front teeth knocked out.” However, he showed up at the UI Hospitals and Clinics over three hours after the attacks occurred and tests showed his blood alcohol level at .116.
The alleged incident led to a campus wide crime alert.
An investigation found that Owens not only lied about the attack, but led numerous attacks on others near the bar:
“Marcus was not the victim of an assault,” Iowa City Police Capt. Troy Kelsay said. “Marcus was an active participant and even an instigator in three separate physical confrontations or assaults that occurred at bar close. During at least one of those he suffered injuries. That is unfortunate, but when you go looking for multiple fights, that is going to happen.”
The Owens family issued an apology letter Monday night, acknowledging that there were substantial differences between Marcus Owens’ account and the police investigation.
“I want to extend my gratitude to the family for doing the right thing,” said Lt. Mike Brotherton, who is in charge of investigations. “Because they did issue that apology letter. I think it was very necessary and critical for the community.”
The videos show “a heavily intoxicated Owens” starting several fights outside of the bar and continuing them down the street. Someone did say the n-word, but Owens and his friends attacked the person.
The FBI also refused to help once the evidence did not show a hate crime.
The officials thanked witnesses and friends of Owens for their honesty about the night. Kelsay said the people in the community did not want a hate crime to tarnish the small town, which inspired them to tell the truth.
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