A University of Michigan student who had reported that a man scratched her face with her anti–Donald Trump pin in a pro-Trump hate crime has just pleaded guilty to one count of a false report of a misdemeanor for making the whole thing up.
According to local news source MLive, 21-year-old Halley Bass had originally told the Ann Arbor Police Department that a white man in gray sweatpants had attacked her on November 15 because she was wearing a pin symbolizing solidarity with immigrants against Brexit and Donald Trump — adding that the incident was probably part of what she’d heard was an uptick in hate crimes since the election.
“[The] person must have seen the pin and picked on me,” Bass said, according to the police report. “That’s my best guess.”
The real story? Bass had scratched her own face with her own pin after getting frustrated in her women’s literature class.
— John Counts (@John_Counts) March 7, 2017
“I had been in a discussion in my women’s lit weirdly and there were a few people in my class that sort of said some things that scared me,” she said, according to MLive. “. . . It was more like I wanted a concrete reason to be scared then [sic] to just talk, I guess.”
According to police, Bass did not admit the truth on her own, but was forced to admit it after surveillance footage revealed that she had not been on the street where she had alleged the attacks occurred.
“I was suffering from depression at the time,” Bass said in court on March 6. “I made a superficial scratch on my face.”
“It was visible and I was embarrassed about what I’d done. So I made up a story and told a friend that a stranger had done it while I was walking. I was encouraged to report it to the police. I made the mistake of doing that.”
As wild as all of this may be, this is far from the first time an alleged hate crime turned out to be fabricated. In fact, it’s not even the first time that this has happened on this particular campus. On November 11 — just days before Bass’s fake report — a U of M student had reported that a man, empowered by Trump’s election, had threatened to set her on fire if she didn’t remove her hijab . . . only for Ann Arbor Police to determine that she’d made it up.
As for Bass, she faces up to 93 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. Her attorney has requested that she be sentenced through the district’s mental-health court, but her eligibility for that has yet to be determined.