Man Charged with Making False Hate Crime Report in Palo Alto

Jenna Lyons, SF Gate, January 12, 2016

When Jesus Francisco Cabrera told police he was stabbed by two white men who told him he didn’t belong in this country, Palo Alto police immediately launched a hate-crime investigation.

Detectives even released sketches of the men Cabrera claimed attacked him, and the city’s Human Relations Commission asked police to make a presentation on hate crimes in the area.

But after months of investigating, officials said Tuesday that Cabrera had lied about the incident and that no hate crime occurred the night of July 15 in downtown Palo Alto.

The Santa Clara County district attorney’s office turned the tables on the 19-year-old Cabrera, charging him with one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting a hate crime. He was arrested and booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose on Friday.

“A lot of work went into this investigation, which ended up being for naught,” said Sgt. Brian Phillip, a police spokesman.

{snip}

Cabrera told police one of the men attacked him from behind and the other stabbed him in the leg with a screwdriver before they both ran off. {snip}

It turns out the only true part of the tale was that Cabrera drove himself to a local hospital for a puncture wound to his thigh. He was treated and released that night for his injuries, but over the course of a hate-crime probe, police learned what actually led to the stabbing.

Phillip said the real incident unfolded in East Palo Alto underneath a bridge at University and Woodland avenues. There, Cabrera got into a tussle with a group of acquaintances he considered an “opposing graffiti crew.”

Detectives uncovered the truth, police said, after subsequent interviews with Cabrera in which his statements became inconsistent until he ultimately admitted what had happened.

{snip}

Jesus Francisco Cabrera

Jesus Francisco Cabrera

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