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By far the largest number of hoax incidents involve black victims and non-black (usually white) offenders. This is true both on the campus and in the community. The most common motive is to capitalize on the psychological benefits of victimization or to promote a specific personal, social or political agenda, but other motives such as insurance fraud and attempts to cover up other crimes are not uncommon. Some hoaxes are simple pranks that got out of hand but the majority involve some degree of planning and deliberate organization. Cases In November 1987 a black Wappingers Falls, New York, teenager, Tawana Brawley, claimed to have been kidnapped for several days, raped by white men, smeared with dog feces, placed in a plastic garbage bag and marked with racial slurs. The case quickly became a cause cÃ©lÃ¨bre, with editorials, marches, and politicians and media personalities deploring the incident and the "racist climate" that obviously led to it. Rev. Al Sharpton, a black activist with a shady background, became spokesman for the Brawley family and insisted that "justice be done" and the white men responsible be prosecuted. The incident fueled support for hate crime legislation around the nation as the case was reported nightly on network news. Tawana Brawley and her handlers basked in nationwide attention and she acquired victim status on a scale rarely seen. Discrepancies in her story were evident from the very beginning. A claim that she had been raped and brutalized by three white police officers quickly fizzled out under examination. A detailed investigation determined that she was seen by friends during the period she said she was held captive and that she spent much of this time in an apartment previously rented by her family. Other elements of her story were gradually eliminated one by one and police subsequently reported that the Brawley case was a massive fabrication and hoax. what made the Brawley case outstanding was the incredible media feeding frenzy that took place. Although there was reason for skepticism virtually from the beginning, newspaper and television media were slow to pick up on the implausible nature of the allegations. Only after the doubt was substantial and clearly pointing in the direction of a hoax was the public informed. New York Post columnist Eric Breindel commented that radical attorney William Kunstler had said, concerning the Brawley case, "It makes no difference anymore whether the attack on Tawana really happened...a lot of black woman are treated the way she says she was treated." Three years after the case broke the Brawley matter was still being litigated. According to news reports, 49 "A county prosecutor was defamed by a black teen-ager who falsely claimed he was one of six white men who abducted and raped her, a judge ruled. State Supreme Court Judge Ralph. Beisner ruled Tuesday that Tawana Brawley intentionally inflicted emotional distress on Steven Pagones, a former assistant district attorney for Dutchess County... "A special grand jury cleared Mr. Pagones of any involvement in the Brawley case and concluded Miss Brawley fabricated the story." As the Brawley incident was capturing headlines in Wappingers Falls, 25 miles away in Kingston, New York, another racial hate crime hoax was brewing. Police had discovered the nude body of 19-year-old Anna Kithcart, a black woman, who had been strangled, beaten and killed. On both thighs were carved the initials "KKK," an obvious reference to the Ku Klux Klan. The community was shocked and it seemed clear that malignant racism had once again struck an innocent black person. But not for long. Within days police investigation focused on Jeffrey Allen Dawson, a 29-year-old black man with a criminal record. Dawson was arrested after he made incriminating statements about the murder to a wired undercover policeman. Kingston Police Department sources said the murder was apparently drug related. As for the alleged Ku Klux Klan connection, Ulster County District Attorney Michael Kavanagh said "Nothing would lead us to believe that this murder was committed by members of any racial hate group such as the Ku Klux Klan." Interestingly, two Brawley family advisers, Rev. Al Sharpton and Alton Maddox, Jr., got on the band wagon in this case, too. Sharpton and Maddox were soon conducting their own investigation in the slaying. Said Maddox, "I believe it was a racially motivated crime." October 1991: two cross burnings are reported South Seattle, Washington. The first cross was 30 inches tall; the second cross never actually ignited. Aaron Briggs, one of the victims, said "It makes me mad that we have not come as far as I thought we had come." Predictably, the Ku Klux Klan- style "cross burnings" sent a shock through the community. Sensitivities were raised, racism was deplored and anti-racist forces were energized. Three months later the monster was captured. Unlike most other cases, where the culprit is vilified and condemned and where no excuse whatsoever will do, this case was reported with kindness and understanding, and with a charity and compassion unusual in stories of racist criminals. Here is why: "When they heard the confession of a troubled 16-year-old who admitted he was behind a string of cross-burnings and racial vandalism against black people in South Seattle, police were stunned and saddened. 50 The youth, who also is black, told police he committed the acts of vandalism to create fear that would attract the media. Capt. Douglas Dills, who heads the police section that investigates malicious harassment, or hate crimes, said it appears that the youth had a fascination with both national and local media coverage of racism and racial incidents. The teenager is not only under suspicion in a string of malicious harassment cases, but in several arsons as well." The newspaper also reported that "The youth might have been inspired by a Phil Donahue TV show the day before about hate crimes," according to police. The arrest cleared up-a large number of unsolved cases of allegedly racially-motivated crimes in the community," all registered in the statistics kept by anti-racist groups. One of the most convoluted and bizarre hate crime hoaxes was exposed in Portland, Oregon, in October, 1992. Hoaxes can be very elaborate, and almost always require some degree of planning. But the case of Azalea Cooley, 40, a black lesbian, involved a series of misrepresentations, distortions and out+ right lies covering up to eight years, including false claims of disability that left her wheelchair bound, and of bogus racial harassment that began as far back as 1985 when she allegedly received death threats. In 1983 Cooley moved in with Susan Soen, whom she had been dating since 1981. In 1986 she claimed she had been diagnosed with cancer and quit her job as a corrections officer. Cooley and Soen, also a corrections officer, continued to live together and were active in the community politics. A The most recent reports of racial harassment began on May 3, 1992, when racist graffiti was painted on Cooley and Soen’s house. Following that, the word "Nigger" was painted on the house, a note card with "Hitler Lives, Death to All Niggers" was found on the doorstep, and a swastika with the words "burn nigger burn" was written on Cooley’s wheelchair ramp. Over a period of weeks some seventeen hate crime incidents occurred, none of which police were able to solve. Cooley and Soen turned to the local Anti-Bigotry Coalition to counsel them through the ordeal. The Metropolitan Human Rights Coalition set up a special hot line to receive tips on the perpetrators. Police questioned several suspected skinheads and neo-Nazis, and even arrested one man who was seen watching the cross burn in Cooley’s yard, but later said they didn’t believe he was responsible. Azalea Cooley became, to paraphrase a local journalist, a "poster child" for Portland’s victimized classes, i.e., the black, handicapped and gay/lesbian communities. She reveled in her victimhood and eagerly accepted the role of a martyr. On Sunday, 1 November 1992, she helped lead a rally and march named "Take A Stand Against Hate" through Portland. Photos of Cooley being pushed in her wheelchair at the head of the march were widely published. She became a symbol of the fight against bigotry and prejudice on as grand scale. On the very morning of the march, someone set fire to a cross on Cooley’s lawn. Unbeknown to Cooley and Soen, however, this time police cameras recorded the incident. 51 That same evening police arrived and searched the Cooley-Soen residence. They said they found items in the house "consistent with materials used in the cross burning." The videotape showed that the person who lit the cross had come from inside the house. Susan Soen, who had filed the original hate crime complaints, was served with a warrant for initiating a false police report, a Class C misdemeanor. She was placed on administrative suspension at the Multnomah County Jail, where she had been a line supervisor for 15 years. No charges were filed against Cooley at that time." Scott Lively, spokesman for the Oregon Citizens Alliance, a group opposing special civil rights protections for homosexuals known as Ballot Measure #9, made political hay of the arrest. He said "This vindicates our position that the No on 9 campaign has been basing their position on fraud. I think there is high emotion on both sides; but when a black, crippled woman in a wheelchair starts burning crosses in her own yard, it’s fraud and a sad day for the community. I think it exposes what we have been saying all along." On November 20, 1992, The Oregonian, a Portland daily, reported that Azalea Cooley had "confessed to staging the cross burnings, death threats and vandalism." Cooley admitted that "the hate crimes that happened at our home were my doing." In June, 1993, federal judge Helen J. Frye placed Cooley on two years probation for lying to an FBI agent. She was also ordered to spend four months in house arrest. The charges against Soen, who had filed a defamation lawsuit against sheriff’s officers involved in the investigation, were still pending at the time of this writing. How was Cooley able to fool so many people for so long? Rachel Zimmerman, writing in Willamette Week, a Portland weekly, noted "Cooley fooled so many so fully because she was seen as the ultimate victim: an African-American lesbian, wheelchair bound and dying of brain cancer, haunted by an anonymous bigot. In hindsight, there were a number of signs suggesting the attacks were a hoax. But those who came to Cooley’s aid were blinded -- either by naivete, by their own abhorrence of racism or by the temptation to hold such a victim up as a symbol, even a martyr." In 1990 Curtis Sliwa, founder of the multi-racial and quasi-vigilante Guardian Angels organization, claimed in 1980 that three New York City transit officers abducted him, drove him around and threatened him in order to force his organization to end subway patrols. He also claimed that someone painted "KKK" and "White Power" outside the group’s headquarters. The organization, founded by Sliwa in 1978, had acquired a reputation for sensationalism and as publicity seeking. As Sliwa puts it, "Ne were just little people trying to get recognition for doing good work." 9 In November, 1992, Sliwa admitted that the kidnapping, the KKK graffiti and other events were, in fact, faked. He remarked that the constant media attention played a part in the deceptions. "It became like a intoxicant, a narcotic," he said. Three men and a youth, all black, were arrested in August 1990 in connection with three cross burnings in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Ross Fairwell, 18; Gerald Simons, 20; and Reginald Steward, 21; and the juvenile, were charged with the offenses. "According to Capt. Ron Siarnicki of the county fire department, a homeowner in the Forest View section of the community discovered the cross burning in the front yard about 3 AM after a brick was hurled through the living room window. Earlier, three black youths had jokingly donned white sheets and set fire total cross in from of a friend’s house P in the 9500 block of Castle Drive in Forestville...The I friend came out to see what was going on, and then joined the trio as they went on." 8 Captain Siarnicki went on to minimize hate crime aspects of the incident, claiming that "The act wasn’t racially or religiously motivated 19.They were just being crazy, I guess...something that just got out of hand." In Lawrence, home of the University of Kansas, a small cross was burned and "KKK" was spray-painted in several buildings in Lawrence neighborhoods in October 1990. Police determined that the culprit(s) were probably juveniles. The two-foot high cross was made from pieces of wood taken from a discarded sofa, tied together with fabric from the sofa, wedged against the ground and building, and set afire. "The Edgewood Homes tenants association held an emergency meeting last week to express anxiety. ’It’s terrible because so many people ae8 afraid,’ said 15-year resident Frances Moore, 63...". In another case, a cross was burned in front of an all-white fraternity near the University of Kansas, accompanied by a note containing anti-white comments. Militant anti-racists have been active in the Lawrence community and at the university, and Angela Davis, former member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party USA and militant anti-racist activist had recently spoken at K.U. Other suspected hoaxes have occurred. What makes the Lawrence case interesting is that obvious hoaxes were treated as bonafide incidents by the media, which in turn encourages hoaxers. Wichita Eagle writer Dave Hendrick wrote a lengthy article entitled "Racial Tensions Taint Lawrence’s Image," never mentioning that the cross-burnings and graffiti were hoaxes. He did note that "Reports about the cross-burnings and graffiti have been filed with Klanwatch, a division of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala." These faking hate incidents may become part of the statistics they issue periodically. An unnamed black teen-ager in Queens, New York, told authorities that a white man had set him on fire. News reports of December 1986 noted that "Police at first believed the account and reported it as the third racial attack in Queens in a week. But when detectives found inconsistencies, the 15-year-old and three of his friends admitted the fabrication, police said." The youth had accidentally burned himself by lighting gasoline in a fireplace. He fabricated the story in order to avoid punishment and to gain sympathy. In Bensalem, Pennsylvania, Albert A. Dawson, a 28-year-old black man, was arrested and charged with "ethnic intimidation" in February 1984 for allegedly setting crosses afire on the lawns of four interracial couples. At the time of the incidents it was believed that the offenses were committed by white racists. One of the couples, Floyd Darden, 33, who is black, and his wife Janet, who is white, woke up with a burned cross in their yard. "The fact that he’s black brings a totally different dimension to the thing," Darden said. Another family, living directly across the street from Dawson, consisted of a young black woman who recently married a white man. Another interracial couple, also victimized, lived twp blocks away. Dawson, 28, was freed after posting 10% of his $50,000 bail. Alan Rubenstein, assistant district attorney, said that the cross burning "...certainly was a racially motivated incident." Had Dawson not been apprehended the image of the Ku Klux Klan or neo-Nazi skinheads would have remained in the public mind concerning the incident. As we have seen, even law enforcement officers are not immune from racial hoaxes. A Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, police officer was charged in March 1988 with writing an anti-black slur on a six-foot banner in a district police station. Police patrolman Ross Barnes, a 14-year veteran, who is black, confessed to the act. Apparently, Barnes was attempting to inject racism as an issue in the transfer of officers within the department. Ronald Oliver, president of the 1,000-member Guardian Civic League, Philadelphia’s minority police organization, said, "For a black person to do that...is beyond my capacity. That point leaves me wondering." One of the most widely publicized cases of terroristic bombing in U.S. history, blamed on racists and occurring on the very eve of a congressional vote on "hate crimes reporting" legislation in December, 1989, contains the elements of a planned deception. Newspapers and television throughout the nation spoke of the connection between the series of letter bombs which resulted in the murder of a U. S. District Judge and a lawyer who had handled civil rights cases and the claimed "rising tide" of racially-motivated hate crimes. 54 The incidents proved useful in promoting the agenda of the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Center For Democratic Renewal. Both organizations attempted to link the bombings to right-wing racial extremists. Wayne 0’Farrell of Enterprise, Alabama, an early suspect in the mailbomb killing of U. S. District Court Judge Robert Vance and attorney Robert Robinson, proved a dead end. Hundreds of federal agents descended upon 0’Farrell’s home and salvage store in a prolonged, detailed investigation that was covered daily in the national media. Nevertheless, investigators failed to find any conclusive evidence linking him with the bombings.when 0’Farrell was under investigation he sold T-shirts to tourists as souvenirs, and had his photo taken with visitors to his store. Dottie Lee Snow, a relative of Hank Snow, recorded a song, "A Tribute to Robert Wayne 0’Farrell" which he sold cassette tapes of for $5.00 each. Several months later, federal agents arrested Walter Leroy Moody on several unrelated charges. Moody had been convicted for bomb possession in 1972. Moody, it turned out, had been a suspect almost from the beginning. Federal agents had focused on 0’Farrell as a diversion - an alarming tactic from a civil libertarian point of view. In an attempt to throw investigators off his trail, Moody included racist commentary in his letters to various media to create the false impression that the bombings were racially-motivated when, in fact, they were not. According to news reports "Mr. Moody has no history of racial animus, and both his brother and Michael Bergin, a former Moody lawyer who married a black woman, said they believed that if race was behind the mail bombs they would be surprised if Mr. Moody would be involved." Moody became a suspect shortly after 0’Farrell did, although federal agents did not divulge this fact to the media. In fact, federal agents were watching Moody almost two weeks before highly publicized searches of 0’Farrell’s premises took place. The focus on 0’Farrell kept the issue up in the air, and newspapers around the country speculated on what seemed an obvious racist motivation behind the crime. Full public attention to Moody would have exposed a total absence of racial motivation. There was no law enforcement need for the O’Farrell deception, for Moody knew he was a suspect as soon as he was placed under surveillance early in the investigation. "The federal agents ’were not particularly surreptitious,’ said Moody’s attorney, Michael Hauptman, adding that Moody was under constant surveillance from early January until his arrest in July on unrelated charges. "Agents...made their headquarters a convenience store down the street from Moody’s home and followed Moody while wearing jackets with FBI printed on the back." The hate crime angle was allowed to percolate through public consciousness for eleven months, including the period when "hate crime reporting" legislation was before congress, which subsequently passed. Moody was apparently kept under surveillance to be arrested at the appropriate time. 55 On 28 June 1991 Moody was found guilty on all 71 counts related to the bombings. During his trial federal prosecutors conceded that his motives were devoid of any racial considerations. "Prosecutors said that Moody was obsessed with his failure, to get his 1972 conviction for possessing a bomb overturned, leave a criminal record that prevented him from attaining his dream of practicing law. Moody blamed the Ku Klux Klan for the bombings." In July, 1987, Portsmouth, Virginia, black community leaders began receiving vitriolic racist "hate mail," including obscenities, racist remarks, and threats. Calls for action against the white "hate groups" were demanded. It was cited as one more example of the rising tide of hate crimes. I The incident took a dramatic turn when a police investigation found that fingerprints on the letters belonged to James W. Holley, III, the city’s first black mayor, who denied the charges and claimed that he had been framed. Fortunately for Holley, at the time of the incident there were no hate crime statutes so he wasn’t charged with a criminal act. In all, some 30 I letters directed to eight individuals -- all but one of them black leaders din the community -- had been mailed. "The mayor’s fingerprints were on file with federal authorities because of a 1973 assault charge of which he was acquitted." Tests showed copies of newspaper clippings contained in the mailings were made by the copier on the sixth floor of City Hall, where the mayor has his office." Five months later voters held a recall election and 57.7 percent of the electorate voted to retire the 60-year old dentist and long-time civil rights leader. Holly continued to maintain that he had been framed. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a black city alderman initiated a hoax in June 1990 that nearly put a 100-year-old meat company out of business. Alderman Michael McGee, who had recently formed a black paramilitary group called the "Black Panther Militia," charged that sausage packed by white-owned Usinger’s Famous Sausage, Inc., was tainted with rat poison. McGee said that the "Militant African Underground Squad" was responsible. When the company recalled c 80,000 pounds of meat from I50 stores, an examination found none of the meat L tainted. According to news reports "Milwaukee Mayor John 0. Norquist and others said...they believe McGee’s story was fabricated because the alderman brought the warning to news media instead of reporting it immediately to police." "’It’s a hoax. It’s phoney,’ Norquist charged. ’What he’s really doing is scaring the hell out of people, which feeds racism and bigotry. The controversy arose when a group of businessmen opposed a McGee sponsored bill to rename a city street after Martin Luther King, Jr. A portion of the street in question is already named for him. The businessmen opposed renaming the rest of the street, saying the change would inconvenience their businesses. Letters appearing to be of Ku Klux Klan origin exhorting blacks to continue killing each other circulated in Washington, DC, for a several week period in 1991. Entitled "A Salute to All Gang Bangers," the letters thanked black gang members for having killed over 4,000 blacks since 1975. The letters read "Keep killing each other for nothing. You are killing each other for our property.i You are killing what could be future black doctors, lawyers and businessmen that we won’t have to compete with; and the good thing about it is that you are killing the youth." One edited version was printed in the Washington Afro-American newspaper. Observers noted that one version of the letter misspells the name of the KKK as "Klu Klus Klan." Washington, DC talk show host Robin Breedon said on WPGC Radio, "I don’t think the letter is from the Klan, but it should give those who are involved in black-on-black violence something to think about. I think the letter was written by some black person who, like myself, is fed up with the violence and is trying to do whatever it takes to get through to these young people." In Brooklyn, a 16-year-old black teenager said she had been the victim of a racial hate crime at the hands of two 17-year-old white youths as she was walking on a city street late one Sunday evening. According to police Sgt. Edelle James, "They yelled ethnic slurs and said she didn’t belong there. They went through her purse, removed lipstick, ripped her blouse and smeared lipstick on her chest and neck. Then they struck her in the face and fled the scene." The teenager was taken to Coney Island Hospital, where she was treated by physicians and released, according to news reports. Four days later, on October 3, 1992, newspapers reported that the teenager had recanted her story. "It didn’t happen," said Capt. William Plackenmeyer. "She was looking for sympathy from her boyfriend and made up a story." Police investigators began to suspect the hoax when important elements of her story didn’t check out. In the meanwhile, New York Mayor David Dinkins had cited the case as an example of a hate crime to illustrate the need for a state anti-bias law. Hate crime hoaxes are sometimes used to cover up crimes, to draw attention away from criminal activity, or to create a "victim" cover for an individual fearing discovery and criminal prosecution. D’Ron Birdsong, an 16-year old black youth, testified in May 1988 that David Price, an 18-year old black man, was shot and killed by a carload of white men who were yelling racial epithets while driving through a Louisville, Kentucky, neighborhood. Police Chief Bobby Crouch described the shooting as a racial hate crime. The charges rocketed through the Louisville, community and quickly brought calls for "justice" and an end to white racist terrorism. There were problems with this account, however. Police showed that Price had been shot from a distance of three to six feet away, not 30 or 40 feet away as4Birdsong had testified. Also, it was learned that Price was a drug dealer. Later, in September 1988 in Federal Court, Birdsong recanted his previous story and testified that Price was shot in the back by Keith Pointer, at 17-year old black youth and fellow drug dealer. According to news reports "While police still believe there was a carload of men yelling at blacks in the area, they now believe Price, who 1 is black, may have been shot accidentally." No shots were fired from the alleged carload of whites -- this was a fiction Birdsong originally concocted to protect Pointer. Birdsong stuck with the fabrication during four statements to the FBI. Finally, be told his mother to call police and he told them what had actually happened. Heavy smoke poured from the west wing of the Manor Baptist Church and School in San Leandro, California, in September, 1992, destroying the Church’s offices and damaging the library. Police and fire investigators initially believed the arson was a racially-motivated hate crime. Graffiti was sprayed on the walls before the the church was doused with kerosene and gasoline and set afire. Almost immediately though, attention shifted to Shawn Ragan, 30, former principal of the church school and church treasurer. He had been accused of embezzling $20,000 in church funds. Ragan had resigned from his post in June 1992. The reason, according to church officials, was his poor performance. Ragan told investigators that he sprayed the graffiti to make them think the arson was racially-motivated. According to San Leandro Police Lt. James 0’Meara, "Part of (Ragan’s) motive was emotional -- revenge and anger toward the people of the church and fearful that he was going to be exposed. In July, 1991, 73-year-old Helen Clewell, who lived alone in an Upper East Side building, was found stabbed, beaten and strangled in her apartment. According to news reports, "The police, after finding a note in Mrs. Clewell’s apartment that contained references to the Ku Klux Klan and racial and ethnic slurs, classified the killing as a bias incident. But Captain William Roe, the commander of the 4th Detective Division, said the police had been unable to link the contents of the note to the crime. A few days later police had their culprit in custody. The note, which read "KKK hates Jews, niggers and spics" had apparently been written by Charles Ocasio, 32, a hispanic, who lived with his mother on the same floor as the victim. Police Detective Joseph Borrell observed that the apartment house "is a very secure building." He said, "Most investigators had a gut feeling it was someone who lived in the building or had access to it. The note was intended to kind of throw us off the track. It just didn’t fit." Albany, 0regon’s mayor, Gene Belhumeur, reported to police in June 1993 that he had been the victim of a racial hate crime. Belhumeur is white; his wife and children from her previous marriage are black. His 17-year-old son awakened him with the story that two boys had flattened three of the tires on a family car and stole a hood ornament. A racial hate note was attached to the windshield, which made the offense a hate crime under Oregon law., Police were looking for two teenagers. However, when they interrogated Belhumeur’s son the next day, the boy admitted to police having fabricated the hate crime story after driving the car into a ditch and flattening three tires. Three black youths on a bicycle-stealing spree in June 1991 claimed to have been attacked by a group of white men before they were apprehended by police in Cleveland, Ohio. At the time of the theft, police were called, who chased and apprehended five black youths. Four others got away. Cleveland police Sergeant Patrick Reynolds said they had fabricated the story to conceal their crimes.i The blacks were among a larger group of who had previously stolen bicycles from the same bike shop. when they returned to the bike shop an employee, thinking they were going to make a second attempt, ran out after them. The fabricated account of the attack by white men was easily debunked in this instance. According to Cleveland Prosecutor Mark McClain, "After the police talked to everyone, it was clear that there was no racially motivated attack." A 14-year-old black teenager claimed that he had been shot in a raciallymotivated drive-by shooting near Clearlake, California in July 1988. This raised the consciousness of the community to the issue of hate crimes and related matters. One month later, however, Clearlake Police Chief Roger Sciutto reported that the black youth admitted that he had accidentally shot himself in the hand with a revolver he claimed to have found in a park. No hate crime had ever occurred. In Akron, Ohio, two black teenagers reported in March 1989 that a carload of white youths had beaten them. The attack had occurred as they were walking along a city street, they said. The white youths began taunting them and then attacked them. Both boys suffered facial injuries, and the 14-year oldâ s jaw was broken in four places and four teeth had been knocked out. The day of the attack, police began investigating the theft of a 1979 Chevrolet from a parking lot. Police discovered that the "attacked" black teenagers had stolen the car and wrecked it when the 16-year-old drove it into a pole. The facial injuries were apparently caused by the accident. They were charged with receiving stolen property and making a false police report. In August of 1988, a biracial couple living in the Troy, New York’s Martin Luther King Apartments reported finding their apartment walls painted with racial slurs and the initials "KKK," according to news reports. Dawn Rowe, 31 is white; her 63-year-old husband Pleasant is black, and they have six children. The couple reported that they had been taunted with racial slurs to the point where they often stay inside with the curtains drawn. Police investigating the incident, however, told another story. Detective Robert Paul came to suspect that the "victims" had been feuding with someone. He said there had been no signs of forced entry. Neighbors had not noted anything unusual around the apartment at the time of the alleged hate crime. He noted that the housing complex is racially mixed and that biracial families are not uncommon. There had been no other racial incidents there. Police declined to characterize the case as a hoax when pressed but it was clear that there was strong suspicion that the Ku Klux Klan was not haunting the complex after all. It had the potential to be another Rodney King case. Four white Berkeley, California, police officers were accused of severely beating Ronald Griffin, 25, a black man, who was taken to a local hospital with broken upper and lower jaws and several teeth knocked out. A police officer identified by the "victim" as the one primarily responsible for the May 1992 incident was, placed on administrative leave. According to Griffin, he had been walking along a Berkeley street when two officers pulled up, asked him to identify himself, and drove away. He said that two squad cars came by later with two additional officers, put him in one of the cars and drove him to an unknown locations where he was handcuffed, beaten unconscious with a baton, and abandoned. 60 The media initially sensationalized the case. However, it was soon learned that Griffin had been recently released from San Quentin, after serving four years for attempted murder and robbery. His arrest record also included narcotics dealing, burglary and auto theft. On several occasions Griffin either fled or resisted arrest, and in one case almost rammed his car into a patrol car. Four days later lawyers for Griffin announced that plans for a lawsuit against the policemen was dropped due to lack of supporting evidence. The police department interviewed all officers who were on duty when the alleged beating occurred and reviewed all radio transmissions during the period. After a thorough investigation they announced that Griffin’s account was a fabrication. According to news reports, "Police here say they now have solid evidence that the Richmond black man who claimed he was beaten 10 days ago by four white Berkeley cops made up the entire episode to cover his involvement in a three-city crime spree. Sources said police believe Griffin attempted to rob a drug dealer and his jaw was broken when his victim hit him with a gun butt." Finally, as the hoax unraveled, it was learned that the day before Griffin made his charges against police, he had allegedly fired a gun at a dope dealer he was trying to hold up. The bullet hit and killed an innocent Mexican immigrant bystander. The gun recoiled, striking him in the jaw, which accounted for Griffin’s injuries. Griffin, along with a companion, was subsequently charged with murder, two armed robberies and car theft. He was returned to San Quentin Prison where he was being held on a parole violation. Rev. James Dixon, a black minister in Houston, Texas, had received a hate letter in January 1992 which said, "Boy, you are one troublemaker. What do you think we should do about this." The words "THIS IS THE KLAN!" were printed in large letters, and an illustration of a Klansman in robe and hood was included. Media accounts said the letter contained several "racist statements." Charles Lee, Texas grand dragon of the minuscule White Camelia Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, denied his organization was involved. He suggested that the letter might be a hoax to arouse publicity for Dixon. Lee said that this kind of thing only brought notoriety and police harassment for the Klan. But a few days later another letter appeared, this one apologizing for the first one. The writer said he was not a member of the KKK and that he had intended the letter as a joke, and apologized for the letter. Constable Jack Abercia said the author of the apology also wrote the original letter, based upon similarities in the two. By this time the "copycat" phenomenon had kicked in and yet another letter was received containing racist threats and apparently not related to the other two letters. Michael Lowe, Grand Dragon of another tiny Houston-based KKK faction, was interviewed by the Houston Chronicle. He said his Klan group is opposed to the use of threatening letters or violence. Warrem Duliere, publisher of the left-wing alternative paper, West Virginia Advocate, was found dead in his garage in July 1992, a victim of a gunshot wound. Duliere’s outspoken attacks on the Ku Klux Klan were a matter of public record as he challenged its members to "come out from behind their robes, hoods and masks." Consequently, the "KKK" found written on the walls of his home with a marker seemed certain to implicate the Klan in his death. A police investigation soon cleared up the attempted hoax. Police spokesmen were quoted as saying that the 60-year-old publisher, distraught over failing health and criticism of his newspaper, committed suicide. Forensic evidence and examination of the scene compelled police Cpl. D. B. Burkhart to observe that "The results indicate Mr. Duliere died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound with his own gun." A source said that there was "an air of mystery about [Duliere] and I think he wanted to go out the same way." Kenneth Daughrity, an employee of the University of San Diego, told police in February 1992 that three white skinheads had attacked him at an automatic-teller machine after he had deposited his paycheck. His original account was that he fought a single skinhead but was overwhelmed when two other skinheads beat and kicked him while shouting racial epithets. Daughrity, a black Gulf War Navy veteran, claimed that no one in the parking lot would come to his help, and a nearby bicycle shop refused to allow him to make.a 911 call to police. Finally, he said, he flagged down a patrol car, but the officers refused to take a report of the hate crime. Media accounts of the incident brought an orgy of sympathy and offers of financial assistance. A San Diego police department internal investigation, however, concluded that Daughrity had made up the entire incident. According to Assistant Police Chief Dave Worden, "After an exhaustive investigation into the matter, we believe that his claims were outright fabrications. We have conclusive evidence it did not happen." No-one Daughrity claimed to have talked with, or who witnessed the incident, could confirm the attack, including the clerk at the bicycle store. Police could not locate a single witness from the allegedly crowded parking lot, nor the police officer that was supposedly flagged down. In New York City Lewis Watkins, 25, a black man claimed he had been beaten in January 1992 by five white men in a white van. One man allegedly got out and pushed him to the ground. .The others then got out and began kicking Watkins, using racial slurs and referring to an earlier abduction and rape of a 15-year-old white girl by two black men. New York Mayor David Dinkins took the opportunity to issue a statement condemning racism and the "absolutely senseless, absolutely appalling act of bias violence." The police investigation became high priority. A few hours later, however, Mayor Dinkins retracted his statement after police officials voiced doubts that the attack even occurred. Watkins, it turned out, had A made two previous unfounded reports of beatings at the hands of white men in white vans. Dinkins’ press secretary, Leland T. Jones, commented "It’s hard to condemn something that didn’t happen. If the price of a retraction is a bias incident that did not occur, we’ll pay that price, because we are pleased that an incident as terrible as this was reported to have been did not occur." Richard Savino, a white Staten Island, New York, homeowner was visiting his parents in Delaware, New York, when police called with news that his house trailer was on fire. Savino had been trying to sell the trailer for six months. On one occasion he had shown it to a black couple. Subsequently, his car was vandalized and racial slurs were painted on the trailer. He also claimed to have received threatening telephone calls. At the time of the fire, the slogan, "NOW sell to niggers" was found spraypainted on a wall. The police classified the incident as a "bias related" hate crime. However, other residents in the neighborhood were puzzled at the course of events. The development has black, Indian, Chinese and Hispanic residents. The president of the Meadowbrook Civic Association said, "We don’t think it’s a bias situation. We have a multiracial community here." On October 13, 1991, police arrested Savino himself for the crime. He was charged with arson, conspiracy insurance fraud, reckless endangerment of property and falsely reporting an incident, according to police spokesman Sgt. Edward Burns. A black man, Oliver Mason, III, had allegedly received a racial hate letter and was served a dead mouse and broken glass in an omelet at an Annapolis, Maryland, restaurant. He was hospitalized briefly after the incident. Mason had also complained of being a "victim of racism" at the Annapolis Holiday Inn where he operated a gift shop. Mason was hospitalized again on April 25, 1991, after he was found in a men’s restroom with an electric cord around his neck and the words "Sorry Nigger" written on the door. Mason told police someone had looped the cord around his neck. Mason was subsequently arrested and charged with filing a false report and hindering a police investigation. Police spokeswoman Florence Steffen said investigators had determined that Mason had written the hate letter he had reported receiving. 53 In a 1986 case, a St. Charles, Missouri black girl, Bridget Clark, 14, told her parents that two white men had thrown acid on her and shouted racial slurs as she walked home from school. The black community was in an uproar. A police investigation revealed that the acid was actually the result of an accident at a summer job where the girl spilled chemicals on her arm causing first-degree burns. "She made up the story on her way home," her mother, Shirley Clark, said. According to news reports, Mrs. Clark said Bridget, "who had been doing cleaning work at Duschesne [High School] through a federal jobs program would be transferred to work at another school." The headlines in the February 6, 1993 Olathe, Kansas, Daily News were stark and explicit: "Vandal Scrawls Racist Message on House." Under the photograph of a black woman standing beside the hate message, "Nigers Go Home," [sic] was the caption: "Edna Mitchell was surprised and saddened Friday morning to find a racist remark written on the front of her Spring Hill home." "It makes you feel violated," she said. Rosemary Jackson, Mitchell’s sister, was with her when they discovered the graffiti. She said, "My (seven-year-old) daughter was screaming and crying ’Momma, how can somebody do this,’ They were dumb enough to s leave their footprints, and their spelling was wrong." Later media accounts told of the Mitchell family being driven from Spring Hill. She reported harassing telephone calls. "They called and told us they were going to kill our kids. They said we were getting too much publicity," Mitchell said. Local authorities sprang into action. Spring Hill police stopped children on their way home from school for questioning. Mayor Mary Lavery said she was "shocked, dismayed." In the twenty years Lavery had lived in Spring Hill, this is the first time she had heard of a racial incident. An anti-racist witch hunt was brewing. Coincidentally, in nearby Olathe, Kansas, employees of the Olathe Water Department had been disciplined for possessing and sharing racially offensive religious literature. The story percolated in the local news media for a couple of weeks, and was reported statewide in the large circulation Kansas City Star. Olathe NAACP T leader Sue Cartwright said the distributors of dangerous literature "should be reprimanded, fired. Responding to the opportunity for further notoriety, a tiny Ku Klux Klan grouplet from a rural Kansas community passed out fliers at a couple dozen A houses in the city. Community leaders were aghast. All of a sudden the community was "sensitized" and townspeople were speculating about who might be responsible about the Mitchell incident. And then the bubble burst. 64 On March 9th police charged Mitchell with two counts of making false police reports, a class A misdemeanor in Kansas. Authorities accused her of inventing several stories that she was being harassed in the community, including her account of the racial slur on the wall of her home. Spring Hill Police Sgt. Hugh Grossman said "We took this seriously, and we wanted to find out who did it because it was such a terrible thing for the city to live down. We were just surprised at the outcome." Charles A. Lewis, a black mayoral candidate in Jacksonville, North Carolina, found the words "NO VOTE NEGGER" [sic] in pink spray paint on his house on August 9, 1991. A front-page story in the local newspaper depicted Lewis as a victim of a racial hate crime and photographed him standing in front of his vandalized home. Lewis portrayed the incident as an attempt to discourage his candidacy: "If they can discourage me from running by acts of aggression or other form of hatred, that’s what they will do. But it won’t stop us." There is more to the story. Lewis contacted police with the claim that he was being blackmailed. Some woman had made up a story to the effect that Lewis had paid two men to deface his house, he claimed, and she was threatening to tell unless he paid her $2,000. Police initially believed Lewis and set up a sting operation to entrap the woman. Under electronic surveillance Lewis met with the woman and paid her $500. Police moved in and arrested the blackmailer. However, the same woman had gone to the County Sheriff’s office and confessed that she was planning to extort money from Lewis. She insisted that Lewis had asked friends to paint the racial slur on his house so he could capitalize on victim status. Police contacted the men, who confirmed the story, and arrested Lewis when he visited one of the men. Lewis subsequently confessed to the hate crime hoax. Lewis, who had previous convictions for larceny and bad checks, remained in the race and, incredibly, despite his confession to police, continued to profess his innocence! He lost the election. At California’s March Air Force Base the dormitory doors of the 22nd Security Police Squadron were covered with racial and sexual slurs in a red marker. The slogans found on October 8, 1992, included "Stay with Your Own Kind" and "KKK." Although both white and black air police officers slept in the dormitory, only the rooms of blacks were defaced. Within a week military police had charged a black military policeman, Airman First Class Ivory Lee Scott, 28, an 18-month Air Force veteran, with seven counts, including damaging government property, making racial and sexual slurs, obstruction of justice by tampering with three witnesses and two counts of making false statements in another matter. The arrest followed a week-long investigation by wing commander Brig. Gen. Don Jensen, who uncovered the hoax. Police informants are often unstable and unreliable, particularly in matters involving alleged hate crimes. Even in cases where they’re not trying to save their own necks, they may fabricate stories for no other reason than to feel important. Such a case occurred involving the notorious anti-black and anti-Jewish Aryan Nations organization in Idaho. To the credulous mind there is little that one could say of Aryan Nations that wouldn’t be believed. Few organizations have received more publicity entirely out of proportion to their objective importance than this small group. Not that the group hasn’t sought out such publicity, mind you. Nevertheless, the media has sensationalized the group to the point where any news about them becomes big news. Based on the account by a former informant, FBI agents approached Marshall Mend, a Jewish real estate man in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, with the news that a group of white racists had conspired to do him in, along with Bill Wassmuth, a former Catholic priest. Both men had been active in campaigns against Aryan Nations and other white racist activists in their community. The informant, Dan Bordner, who had infiltrated Aryan Nations, had been dropped by the bureau after FBI agents came to doubt his credibility,73lso claimed that a synagogue bombing had been planned for nearby Spokane. H Later, the FBI acknowledged that the "plot" was sheer fiction. David Hill of the FBI office in Seattle, said, "The bottom line is we found there was no substance to the allegations." Apparently, however, Bordner -- acting as an informant -- actually tried to get a conspiracy of that nature going. According to February 1992 news reports: "Sources close to the investigation said FBI electronic surveillance at Aryan Nations revealed no instance where anyone in the group talked about the plot except the informant Dan Bordner. ’Nobody else ever mentioned the threat,’ one source said. when the FBI gave Bordner lie detector tests, ’he flunked big time,’ a source said.’" Floyd Cochran, at whose home the group met and who freely admits his membership in Aryan Nations, said that "The whole thing was a fiction of Mr. Bordner." Cochran’s home was searched by the FBI on the strength of Bordner’s allegations. No incriminating evidence of any kind was turned up. The FBI suspects that Bordner fabricated the account in order to promote a future book. Of all possible hate crimes hoaxes, one would think that an incident in which a man is deliberately set on fire would be impossible to fake. Yet, such a hoax apparently happened in Loveland, Ohio, in September 1993. 66 "Writhing in pain with burns over 75% of his body, Milton Metcalfe lay in front of a Loveland bar Tuesday and screamed, ’I was trying to help them.’ His payoff, according to police: a cup of gasoline in the face and a match tossed at him. Police are checking the possibility the attack was gs racially motivated. Metcalfe is black; he described his attackers as white." According to Metcalfe, 30, he was trying to help two men and a pregnant woman whose pickup truck was out of gas. He went home and got a gas can, had it filled, and brought it to the trio. Metcalfe told police that the truck would not start. The men asked him to get a cup of gas to prime the carburettor when he complied, one of the men poured it on him and the other man tossed a lighted match. Metcalfe, on fire, ran across to the Zappa sports bar. Bartender Angela Clasgens said, "We heard a loud bang. It sounded like a gunshot. We looked at the door, and there was a great big fireball. He was screaming, ’They were trying to pour it gown my throat. They poured gas on me and set me on fire.’" Loveland, with a population of 9,900, is 97% white and 2% black, according to the 1990 census. Police and citizens initially speculated on the racial aspect of the crime. A few days later, another story began to emerge. Police had discovered a half-filled gas can behind a Loveland shopping center, and accounts by witnesses cast suspicion on Milton Metcalfe’s story. Hearing of these developments, the local NAACP demanded an investigation. Frank Allison, president of the Cincinnati chapter, said, "I think if the victim was white, it would have been handled differently." Finally, the whole story began to come apart. Police revealed that Metcalfe had been convicted in April, 1993, for filing a false police report that he had been abducted by two men with a baby. A detailed police investigation determined that the incident was a hoax concocted by Metcalfe. Also, it was learned that the late-model Ford pickup Metcalfe had described has no carburetor and could not be primed with gas. Finally, although many people had seen Metcalfe in the area of the Clark station, no one had noticed the truck. Milton Metcalfe, critically burned and the apparent self-inflicted victim of a hoax that backfired, subsequently died from the injuries. Hatred and bigotry, it seems, know no age boundaries and no limits to viciousness. Or so it seemed in May 1993, when 12-year-old Jake Thompson, a black fifth-grader, reported that no less than ten white and hispanic boys, aged 10 to 13, had beaten him to the ground, pushed his head inside a toilet and flushed it, and then wrote "Nigger Must Die" on a boys’ restroom wall at the Encinal Elementry School in Santa Clara County, California. The case was originally handled by skeptical school officials, who were cautious about buying the improbable story. Police learned of the incident few weeks later while visiting the school on another matter and "opened a case." The case attracted the attention of a sympathetic news media who, it is charged, blew it way out of proportion, and of civil rights groups, who howled for the boys’ heads. i*Send them a message," was the slogan as powerful interest groups pushed for prosecution of the youngsters and demanded the indictments of the youngest defendants ever to go on trial for felony hate crimes, forcing many of their parents to hire attorneys to represent their children, and others to rely on understaffed and under financed public defenders. If convicted, the children could be sentenced to a draconian eight years in California Youth Authority custody. I A Kafkaesque tone to the case began to emerge as discrepancies and inconsistencies developed, including the date of the "hate crime," which changed back and forth. Evidence appeared that cast doubt upon Jake Thompson’s story. According to news reports, "At a hearing held last August, a school monitor testified that when she saw Jake after the alleged assault, he showed no signs of bruising or injury." As the case progressed the judge began dismissing defendants as the, evidence for their participation evaporated. Hugh Roberts, attorney for an 11-year-old defendant who was released in the case said, "This is a terribly overcharged case, made more difficult by community and media response." Deputy District Attorney Marc Buller admitted that "As the case has evolved, we know information now that we didn’t know then." Albie Jachimowicz, attorney for a 12-year-old Hispanic boy charged in the case, claimed that Buller was pushing the case because of political and social pressure. when the case came to trial the San Jose Mercury reported "Recanting his original story to police, a boy testified in court Wednesday that the alleged beating of a black classmate was a hoax. Instead, the seventh-grader said Jake Thompson planned the whole incident shortly after school began that day, then later ripped his own shirt and wet his hair to make it appear as if he had been beaten... (the boy) told how Jake had asked him to lie and repeatedly called his house to make sure their stories matched." "On the witness stand Tuesday and Wednesday, two of the prosecution’s witnesses changed their stories and contradicted Jake’s account of the May 4 incident." As Jake Thompson’s story fell apart Judge Paul R. Teilh had no choice but to acquit the remaining four defendants. This, however, was not the end of the story. There was still a possibility for money to be made. In November, 1993, attorneys for Jake Thompson filed a $3 million civil suit against Morgan Hill Unified School District, charging that they were "negligent" and "failed to supervise and control the conduct of students." In Chicago a black man who had told police of an attack by a white motorcycle gang in May 1985, recanted parts of his story after witnesses disputed his assertion that he had been beaten with chains by gang members. According to witnesses, Otis Jackson’s car was overturned by people whom Jackson had endangered by driving recklessly. Jackson, 25, also withdrew claims that the whites had harassed him at a stop light, that a friend was in the car with him, and that the white gang had stolen $300. Jackson initially said that the gang members had pushed a Molotov cocktail through a hole in the rear window. Witnesses contradicted Jackson, saying that there was no motorcycle gang involved in the incident. According to media reports, "...witnesses have accused Jackson of trying to run down people on pedestrian walkways before his car hit a tree... a crowd became angry after Jackson had driven in reverse at speeds of 40 miles an hour, and overturned the car after he had run off the walkways...the car exploded because the motor was running." Jackson had told police he was driving in reverse to escape the motorcyclists. He explained, "I changed my story to them because I was high. I don’t know why. I gave some bad information. I was high." Jackson had been fired from his security guard job after it was learned that he was a convicted felon awaiting trial on charges of possessing two loaded handguns, one of which was stolen in a burglary. Hoaxes often take bizarre forms. In 1988, 54-year-old Gary A. Tucker stirred law enforcement officials with a death-bed confession that he had taken part in a I963 church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young black girls. Media sources reported: "A Justice Department official in Washington said the local United States Attorney’s office and the FBI in Alabama had sent ’very optimistic reports’ to Washington indicating that Mr. Tucker might well be telling the truth.’" According to federal officials, Tucker "really knew his dates and places and he knew the players in the bombing." Later, David Barber, Jefferson County District Attorney said that Tucker was "a confessor to a crime that he did not commit." Investigators noted that Tucker didn’t even know the location of the church and gave three different descriptions of the car which he was driving. Barber and Frank Donaldson, U.S. Attorney for Northern Alabama, said their only explanation for the hoax was Tucker’s physical and mental condition. Tucker was a cancer patient at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Tuscaloosa, AL, at the time of his confession. Tucker’s relatives said that he had been diagnosed several years earlier as a "paranoid schizophrenic." "His explanation to us was that he realized he was dying and wanted to get this off his conscience. We were real disappointed at how it turned out because we want this case solved. Insurance fraud has been the motive for more than one "hate crime" hoax. In March, I991, a Fayetteville, Georgia, black couple was arrested and charged with fraud by arson, having spray-painted racial slurs on the interior walls before setting their $400,000 home on fire. White racists were blamed. Marcellous and Sandra Jackson were soon arrested and held on $350,000bond. They had been behind in their mortgage payments and faced foreclosure. Their real estate agent, Lynn Mitchell, was also arrested as a co-conspirator. According to Sheriff Randall Johnson, the fire was the Jackson’s third attempt in a month to burn the house down. Sheriff’s Captain Bruce Jordan said, "By the second fire, we were considering the possibility that it was not racially motivated and may have been a financial conspiracy. Nine months later, on 6 December 1991, Marcellous Jackson was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Witnesses said that Jackson set the fire himself to collect insurance on the house. They also testified that Sandra Jackson, real estate agent Lynn Mitchell, and neighbor Ceasar Gaiters "conspired to defraud the mortgage company that financed Jackson’s house." The home of Larry Williams and Patricia Anderson, a black couple in Arvada, Colorado, was systematically ransacked 29 November 1990, and 29 swastikas were drawn with a felt marker on walls. The police report noted that the ransacking had been done in an unusually neat, careful manner. Nothing was broken and nothing was missing. Williams speculated, "I guess there were trying to drive home a message that they don’t want us in this neighborhood. We are the only blacks here." Exactly two weeks later Williams and Anderson returned home to find their home on fire and their blue Thunderbird missing from the garage. Police reported that the fire had been deliberately set in four places. The house sustained mostly smoke damage. A careworn and dazed Williams said, "I just can’t believe this." The FBI entered the case, requesting a copy of the earlier police report. Arvada Police Lt. Jeff Waller said "It’s routine for them to look into ethnic hate crimes like this. We want to make it perfectly clear that we are not going to tolerate a situation where a family is singled out and treated this way." Two days after the fire the Rocky Mountain News, a Denver daily, reported that Williams and Anderson had "been deluged with an outpouring of sympathy." Police Sergeant Merle Westling of the Arvada Police Department said "We’ve had calls from people wanting to donate clothing, I gifts, money to help rebuild the house - I’ve even been told there was a contractor over there this morning who said he’d donate some time to get the place straightened up." The Thunderbird was soon located in Denver. Police reported that someone had put a rock on the gas pedal and let it run into a parked dump truck. Police fingerprinted the car for clues. Arvada Police Chief Pat Ahlstrom said that the "investigation is high priority, as is any crime with a possible racial or ethnic hatred motive." And investigate they did. Police learned that the family was in severe financial straits, and that the house was insured. Moreover, police were suspicious from the outset when inconsistencies developed in their account of the incidents. Within a few days Patricia Anderson was arrested, along with Lee Andrew Williams, brother of Larry Williams who was not charged in the case. Lee Williams and Anderson subsequently entered guilty pleas. In May 1991 Lee Williams was given 10 years for one count of first degree arson. Patricia Anderson received 5 years probation for attempted theft and false reporting. In July 1990 an arson fire seriously damaged the Clothes Encounters clothing shop in Kansas City, Missouri’s fashionable Westport shopping area. The owner, Angela Washington Thomas, a black woman, claimed that it was a racially motivated "act of hate." At the time of the fire, Thomas told of racial harassment, including threatening telephone calls dating from when she opened the store in July I989. She told a reporter: "This was a purposeful act of hate....I’m borderline shocked that this could happen. I’d rather it was because of something I did personally to someone than because I’m black." Thomas’s claim of racial intimidation brought immense local and national media attention. Anti-racist groups were lamenting the plight of the brave young woman and calls for harsher penalties for "hate crimes" echoed throughout the community. It also brought the Federal Bureau of Investigation into the case, which proved to be the actual perpetrators undoing. According to FBI spokesman Max Gieman "The FBI conducted an inquiry but a determination was made after a preliminary investigation that the allegations [of racism] were not supported." Lauren D. Johnson, a former Kansas City, Kansas, firefighter, proved to be the key to the case. He had been bragging to a friend that he had been involved in the arson. This friend told a friend, who called police. As the investigation began to focus on him, Johnson admitted his part in the crime. The store was failing and it was burned to collect insurance. Thomas and Johnson were convicted. Due to an effective attorney and their willingness to implicate one another in the crime, both received relatively lenient sentences. Thomas was sentenced to 60 days of monitored house arrest and ordered to pay $13,000 restitution. Johnson was sentenced to 90 days monitored house arrest and $7,800 in restitution. Each was also placed on five years probation. 1 Robert D. McFadden, "Inquiry: No Evidence Links Law Enforcers To Kidnapping," The Ledger (10 April 1988). 2 Associated Press, "Time Frame Conflict In Racial Sex Case," Chicago Tribune (6 May 1988). 3 Associated Press, "Brawley’s Rape Story A Lie, N. Y. Attorney General Says," Kansas City Times (7 October 1988). 4 Joan Beck, ?The Public Exploitation of Tawana Brawley," The Tampa Tribune (15 June 1988). 5 Eric Breindel, "Public Truth and Racial Politics," New York Post (5 July 1990). 6 Associated Press, "Judge Rules Brawley Defamed Prosecutor," The Washington Times (9 May 1991). 7 Linda Stevens, "Black Man Held In ’KKK’ Killing Of Upstate Girl," New York Post (18 July 1988). 8 Anne Ruth, "N. Y. Police Rule Out Racial Motive In Slaying, The Arizona Daily Star (18 July 1988). 9 Dave Birkland, "Two Crosses Burned in South Seattle," The Seattle Times (15 October 1991). 10 Michael A. Barber, "Troubled Teen Commits Crimes to Lure Media." Seattle Post-Intelligencer (17 January 1992). Ibid. 12 Rachel Zimmerman, "The Perfect Victim: Azalea Cooley," Willamette Week (26 November 1992). Oregonian (1 November 1992). 14 Denise McVea, "Police Suspect Victims in Hate-Crime Reports," The Oregonian (3 November 1992). 15 Denise McVea (3 November 1992), Op Cit; Associated Press, "Multnomah Officer Accused of Fake Cross-Burning Report," Statesman Journal (3 November 1992). 16 Ibid. 17 "Founder of Guardian Angels Confesses to Hoaxes," Los Angeles Times (25 November 1992). 18 Hark Vane and Frank Wolfe, "Cross Burnings Not Hate-Crimes; 4 Blacks Arrested." Washington Times (27 August 1990). 19 Barry Lawrence, "Cross Burned By Blacks, Officials Say." Prince Georges County Forum (27 August 1990). 20 Michael Martinez, "Children, Not Klan, Blamed For Vandalism." Kansas City Star (9 October 1990). 21 "Cross Is Burned On Fraternity Lawn," Kansas City Star (8 November 1990). 22 Dave Hendrick, "Racial Tensions Taint Lawrence’s Image," Wichita Eagle (16 December 1990). 23 "Report Of Youth’s Burning False, Police Say." Associated Press (28 December 1986). 24 "Cross Burning Suspect is Black," wire service reports (26 February 1984). 25 Lacy McCray, "Arrest Stuns Cross-Burning Victims," Philadelphia Inquirer (26 February 1984). 26 Lacy McCray and Michael B. Coakley, "Black Man Is Charged In Four Cross Burnings," Philadelphia Inquirer (25 February l984). 27 Joanne Sills, "Black Cop Confesses To Slur," Philadelphia Daily News (8 March 1988). 28 "Bombings, Rising Tide of Hate Crime Linked," Denver Post (26 December 1989). 29 Fred Grimm, "New Breed of Racists Heightens Fears With Ideological Hove to Revolution," News and Observer (2 January 1990): Sonya Ross, "Hate Groups Called Logical Suspects In Bombings," San Francisco Chronicle, n.d. (1989). 30 Kathy Kemp, "FBI’S Suspect in Mail Bombings Finds Notoriety Good for Business," Birmingham Post-Herald, n.d. (May 1990). 31 Peter Applebome, "A Shadowy Bomb Case Is Focusing On A o Loner and Enigmatic Figure." New York Times (20 July 1990). 32 "Hail Bomb Probe Seemed To Bog Down," Associated Press (11 November 1990). 33 Rhonda Hillbery, "Jury Finds Georgia Han Guilty in Nail-Bomb Threats," Los Angeles Times (29 June 1991). 34 "Mayorâ s Fingerprints On Hate Mail," Associated Press (13 July 1987). L 35 Associated Press, "Voters Oust Mayor Linked to Racist Mailings." Kansas City Star (16 December 1987). 36 Jodie DeJonge, "Milwaukee Alderman Accused of Lying to Disfavor Opponent," St. Baul Pioneer Press (June 26, 1990). 37 Tracie Reddick, "Letters Use Klan To Slam Killings." Washington Times (14 December 1991). 38 Ibid. 39 Pat Wilks, "Cops: 2 Whites Attacked Black Teen," New York Post (29 September 1992). 40 Michael Shain, "Cops Say Teen ’Bias Victim’ Was Lying." New York Post (3 October 1993). A 1 41 Mary O’Doherty, "Black Teens Slaying Linked To Drugs, Not Racism." Louisville Courier:Journal (23 July 1988). 42 Mary O’Doherty, "Witness Testifies That Friend, Not Whites, Shot Price." Louisville Courier Journal (8 September 1988). 43 Ibid. 44 Sandra Gonzales, "Ex-Principle Arrested In Blaze At Church School," San Jose Mercury News (16 September 1992). 45 Jacques Steinberg, "Woman Found Beaten To Death In Manhattan," New York Times (11 July 1991). I 46 Anne E. Murray, Peter Moses and Ransdell Pierson, "Neighbor Held In ’KKK’ Slaying of Granny," New York Post (12 July 1991). 47 "Teens Sought In Hate Crime Directed At Albany Mayor," The Oregonian (3 June 1993). 48 "Reported Hate Crime Really Plan By Son To Avoid Trouble," The Oregonian (4 June 1993). 49 Douglas Montero, "Youths Made Up Racial-Attack Story," Cleveland Plain Dealer, n.d. (1991). 50 "Black Teenager Recants Story About Racist Shooting, San P Francisco Chronicle (5 August 1988). 51 "Two Who Claimed Attacked Accused of False Report," unnamed Ohio newspaper (24 March 1989). 52 Mary D’Ambrosio, "Officer Doubts Racism A Factor In Troy Incident," Albany Times-Union (19 August 1988). 53 William Brand, "Berkeley Probes Alleged Beating Of Black By Cops," The Oakland Tribune (12 May 1992). 54 William Brand, "Police Say Richmond Han Made Up Beating Story," The Oakland Tribune (20 May 1992). 55 William Brand, Paul Grabowicz and Harry Harris, "Berkeley Cops Say Beating Fabricated To Cover Up Murder." The Oakland Tribune (21 May 1992). 56 Jerry Urban, "Boycott Leader Gets Hate Letter." Houston Chronicle (9 January 1992). 57 "Apology Made For Hate Letter, But Another Threat Is Received." Houston Chronicle (15 January 1992). 58 Associated Press, "Publisher’s Death Suicide, Police Say," Vancouver Sun (12 August 1992): Wire service reports, "Publisher’s Death Ruled Suicide (12 August 1992): "KKK Not Suspected In Apparent Suicide," (22 July 1992). 59 Wire Service Reports, Op Cit. 60 Dwight C. Daniels, "Police Say Han Fabricated Tale Of Racial Attack," San Diego Union-Tribune (20 February 1992). 61 Mary W. Tabor, "Man Reports Bias Attack, But The Police Express Doubts." New York Times (18 January 1992). 62 Lee A. Daniels, "Staten Island Han Arrested In Apparent Bias Hoax. New York Times (14 October 1991). 63 "Man Who Made Racism Claim Charged With Faking Report," Newspaper clipping, source unknown (May 1991). 64 Abby Cohn, "Assault With Acid Story Called Hoax," St. Louis Post:Dispatch, n.d. (1986). 65 Steve Porter, "Vandal Scrawls Racist Message On House," Olathe Daily News (6 February 1993). 66 Steve Porter, "Family Targeted by Racial Threats Leaving Spring Hill." Olathe Daily News (10 February 1993). 67 Ibid. 68 Kady Hoflaster, "Woman Who Reported Racial Slur Charged With Lying to Police." Kansas City Star (9 March 1993). 69 Ben Stocking, "Racial Slur Was a Sympathy Ploy on Part of Candidate," Police Say." News Q Observer (14 August 1991). 70 Ibid. 71 "Candidate Stays In Race Despite Arrest," Burlington, N. CL Times#News (15 August 1991). 72 Ellis E. Conklin, "Supremacists Allegedly Planned To Murder Men," Seattle Post-Intelligencer (18 February 1992). 73 Paul Shukovsky, "No Evidence Of Aryan Death Plot." Seattle Post-lntelligencer (19 February 1992). 74 Ibid. 75 Sheila McLaughlin, "Man Who Went for Gas Set Afire," (Cincinnati Inquirer (22 September 1993). 76 Ibid. 77 Sheila McLaughlin, "Police: Man May Have Set Self Afire," Cincinnati Inquirer (23 September 1993). 78 Sheila McLaughlin, "NAACP Wants Probe of Torching," Cincinnati Inquirer (24 September 1993). 79 Sheila McLaughlin, "Questions Put Shadow Over Story, Cincinnati Inquirer (25 September 1993). 80 Sandra Gonzales, "Bathroom Beating Trial Begins," San Jose Mercury News (26 October 1993). 8l Rodney Foo, "10 South S. J. Boys Charged With Hate Crime Assault," San Jose Mercury News (3 June 1993). 82 Sandra Gonzales, "Hate-Crime Trial To Open For 4 Boys," San Jose Mercury News (25 October 1993). 83 Sandra Gonzales, "Beating Charges May Be Dropped," San Jose Mercury News (25 September 1993). 84 Sandra Gonzales, "2nd Boy: Beating Was Hoax, Witnesses Z Contradict Black Youth’s Claim," San Jose Mercury News (28 October 1993). 85 John Kass, "Black Changes Story of Attack by Whites, Chicago Tribune (22 May 1985). 86Ibid. 87 Ronald Smothers, "Confession in ’63 Bombing of Church is Called a Fake," New York Times (20 October 1988) 88 Ibid. 89 "Black Georgia Couple Accused of Faking Racist Attack, United Press International (30 March 1991). 90 Gary Hendricks, "Fayette Man Guilty In Fire At His Home," Atlanta Journal - Atlanta Constitution (6 December 1991). 91 John C. Ensslin and Ann Carnahan, "Swastikas Prompt Probe by FBI," Rocky Mountain News (7 December 1990). 92 J. R. Moehringer, "Arvada Home Burned, Burglarized Two Weeks After Swastika Incident." .Rocky Mountain News (14 December 1990). 93 Mark Brown, "Generosity Deluges Family Whose Home Was g Torched." ROCK! Mountain News (15 December 1990). 3 94 Ibid. 95 Tillie Fong, "Man Gets 10 Years in Fake Hate Crime." Rocky Mountain News (29 May 1991). 96 John T. Dauner, "Federal Grand Jury Indicts Owner of Store, 2 Others in Arson Scheme." Kansas City Star (24 September 1991). 97 Art Brisbane, "Racism Destroys A Scheme." Kansas City Star (16 March 1992). 98 Dauner, Op Cit. (24 September 1991). 99 Brisbane, Op cit. (16 March 1992). 100 John T. Dauner, "Store Owner, Ex-Firefighter Sentenced" Kansas City Star (18 June 1992).