Christine Byers, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 16, 2014
A Bosnian immigrant has been charged with making a false police report after claiming three black teenagers threatened to kill her in the Bevo Mill neighborhood because of her ethnicity.
Police said Monday that a surveillance video from a nearby business shows Seherzada Dzanic, 26, of the 4400 block of Gannett Street, just get out of her car and lie in the street shortly before a passing driver found her Dec. 5.
At the time, Dzanic told police three black men in their late teens to early 20s had walked in front of her vehicle about 5:25 a.m. along the 4600 block of Lansdowne Avenue. She said one of them pulled a gun on her when she tried to pass them, then opened her passenger door and went through her purse.
She also told police that one of the men pushed her to the ground, kicked her and had asked where she was from. She said she told them she was European.
“You’re a (expletive) liar. You’re Bosnian. I should just kill you now,” she claimed they told her, according to an account at the time by St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson.
She claimed she lost consciousness but refused medical treatment at the scene, police said.
The report had heightened tension among St. Louis Bosnians, already rocked by the killing of an immigrant by attackers using a hammer five days earlier.
According to court documents, Dzanic said she made up the story because she was suffering from “emotional issues.”
Filing a false police report is a misdemeanor. She was booked and released pending application for a warrant.
Dotson said, “It doesn’t help the current climate when people use race as the basis to report crime; it further divides our community.” He added, “It’s important to send a strong message that when people manipulate the system, there are consequences.”
Meanwhile, St. Louis County police are investigating a report from a Bosnian woman, 34, that two black men tried to rob her and called her a “(expletive) Bosnian (expletive)” about 10 p.m. Sunday along the 3900 block of Lemay Ferry Road in South County. She told police she tossed them her wallet before one of them punched her in the stomach.
Officer Shawn McGuire said the woman said one of the men threw her wallet back before running off.
McGuire said police are not labeling that incident a hate crime yet because it’s not clear the men knew she was Bosnian when they approached. He said officers found no video of that incident.