Campus Police Determine Reported Hate Crimes Were Fabricated, Student Shares Truth

Heather Barr, the Chimes, February 9, 2017

Jalen Mitchell reported to campus police on Jan. 26 that he found a note containing racist and homophobic language taped to the back door of his university-owned residence. After further investigation, campus police determined that the incident was a fabrication.

According to the police report, Mitchell, a senior vocal performance major, was questioned and asked to provide a handwriting sample which showed “similar characteristics.” When asked if he was the author of the note, he confessed to submitting multiple false reports to campus police.

“It was a way to try to get attention, to say ‘Someone notice me, I’m dying on the inside,’” Mitchell told the Chimes.

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During the fall semester of 2015, Mitchell reported finding a similar note containing racial slurs and swastikas at his apartment. Police investigated the situation, but didn’t find any fingerprints or incriminating evidence to determine a suspect.

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More recently, in the fall of 2016, Mitchell reported an assault on Astor Avenue, near the tennis courts. He told university police he was attacked on campus by a man with a knife during his walk home from visiting a friend. According to the safety bulletin, Mitchell received cuts and scratches on his neck, arms, leg and stomach, allegedly by a white male in his late 20s or early 30s with a full beard.

Mitchell wants those who are angry about the incidents being fabricated to know that he’s sorry, and he never thought it would go as far as it did.

“I didn’t mean to cause alarm, I didn’t mean to scare anyone,” Mitchell said. “I just wanted to be noticed … not for fame, just acknowledgement.”

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