Posts Tagged ‘hate crime hoax’

Althea Bernstein: “Case Closed”

October 4, 2020

On August 1, 2020, Watching the Watchdogs reported the story of Althea Bernstein, an 18-year-old bi-racial woman who claimed she had been set on fire by “four white frat boys” at a stop light in downtown Madison, Wisconsin, in the early hours of June 24.

Three months later, after hundreds of hours of investigation by both the Madison Police Department and the FBI, both agencies officially closed their respective cases on October 1, citing a complete lack of evidence.

Madison Police Department press release: “After an exhaustive probe, detectives were unable to corroborate or locate evidence consistent with what was reported.”

“Case findings were also reviewed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Wisconsin and the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Both independently evaluated the facts and reached the same conclusion as MPD.”

US Department of Justice press release: “After a thorough investigation into the events of June 24, 2020, including extensive interviews, exhaustive review of traffic and surveillance video, and expert review of digital and forensic evidence, federal investigators determined that there is insufficient evidence to prove that a violation of any federal criminal statute occurred.

Further, after reviewing all available evidence, authorities could not establish that the attack, as alleged by the complainant, had occurred. Accordingly, the federal investigation into this incident has been closed based on the lack of evidence.”

While both press releases are careful to state that neither agency could conclusively prove that the attack occurred, MPD Detective Justine Harris, who has been investigating the case from the beginning, concludes her 157-page final report:

“I explained to [Bernstein family attorney] Sumpter that based on the extensive video footage we had reviewed, combined with the GPS data that identified where Bernstein was at specific points in time, we were confident that we had identified Bernstein’s car as it traveled through the downtown Madison area and out to Middleton. I explained that in watching this vehicle travel along its route, there were specific factors that led us to conclude that what Bernstein had described did not occur.” (Supplemental narrative, p. 155)

Attorney Sumpter later released a statement on behalf of the Bernstein family: “Althea Bernstein and her family appreciate the detailed investigative efforts by all involved in this case. Althea’s injuries are healing and the support of our community has been invaluable in that regard. We continue to maintain our family privacy and will not be granting interviews at this time.

The family of the alleged victim of one of the most egregious “hate crimes” of the century seem to be taking the news rather calmly.

It’s gratifying to know that the Bernstein family appreciates the hundreds of hours invested by Madison and federal investigators. The thousands of people who donated to a $10,000 GoFundMe site set up for Bernstein can request a refund (no further donations are being accepted). Good Morning America, Megan Markle and the NFL, who all piled on to the “hate crime” bandwagon before police had completed their investigation, will no doubt remain silent on the matter until it all goes away.

And so another alleged hate crime hoax wends its way toward the Memory Hole. Madison Police have determined that they will not be charging Althea Bernstein with filing a false report even though she obviously filed a false report.

Hate crime hoaxes will never go away until the perpetrators face actual repercussions for their actions and until the click-bait Media industry is held responsible for perpetuating unfounded claims for profit.

As veteran researcher Laird Wilcox noted in his seminal book, “Crying Wolf: Hate Crime Hoaxes in America “:

“What can be done about hoaxes? Probably very little as long as victimization claims are so uncritically accepted, and the payoff for alleged victimization is sufficiently tempting and rewarding “

Hate crime” legislation, although well-intentioned, has created a powerful market for the side benefits of alleged hate crimes. When these crimes are not naturally occurring, or are not occurring in sufficient numbers, a motive to commit hoaxes is created.

Our thanks to our friends at the fakehatecrimes.org website for bringing this breaking news to our attention.

More on this story to follow.

The Mysterious Case of Sharmeka Moffitt

October 25, 2012

**** UPDATE – April 20, 2013 **** In the same month that saw convicted hate crime hoaxer Charlie Rogers sentenced to a week in jail and two years of probation, Sharmeka Moffitt was arrested on April 2 and booked on charges of terrorizing and false reporting.

Released on $20,000 bail,  Moffitt was appointed an indigent defender and her trial was scheduled for December 12, 2013. Stay tuned for updates as they become available.

**** UPDATE – December 20, 2012 **** After spending nearly two months in the hospital being treated for her severe burns, Sharmeka Moffitt was released from the hospital in good condition on December 20. Surprisingly, the article reports that “Fifth District Attorney Mack Lancaster has said Moffitt will likely face criminal charges.”

As reported earlier, Nebraska lesbian Charlie Rogers did face criminal charges in December and was found guilty of filing a false report. Rogers will face sentencing in February.

Unfortunately, neither woman has the resources or political connections of young Zachary Tennen, an alleged victim of “Nazi-Klan-Skinheads.” The impetuous youth walked away from his August hate crime “prank” scot-free.

Tennen’s daddy, who invoked the ADL and threatened to sue the city of East Lansing for incompetence, quietly asked the Prosecutor’s Office to “just drop the whole thing” once he found out that his boy got punched in the face for being drunk and feeling up girls at an off-campus party.

And for some reason, that Prosecutor said “Okay! It never happened. No harm No foul.” Sorry, ladies.

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[Original post] In what appears to be yet another hate crime hoax this year, police in Winnsboro, Louisiana, are reporting that all evidence in a gruesome burning incident now points to the victim herself.

20-year-old Sharmeka Moffitt told police that she was walking alone on a trail in a local park on Sunday, October 21, when she was approached by “three men wearing white hoodies” who “doused her with a flammable liquid and set her on fire.” Police also found the initials “KKK” and the infamous “N-word” scrawled on Ms. Moffitt’s car, in toothpaste(?)

Police responded to Ms. Moffitt’s 911 call in less than a minute and found no suspects matching her description. After completing their investigation, police report finding only Ms. Moffitt’s fingerprints on a cigarette lighter and lighter fluid container. The toothpaste was determined to contain evidence of female DNA only.

Ms. Moffitt suffered third-degree burns on at least 60% of her body, with some reports saying as much as 90%. Given the severe nature of her injuries and the record-breaking response of the police to the crime scene, it sure looks like Ms. Moffitt, or an accomplice, must have smeared the toothpaste smears on her car well before the alleged attack. This was premeditated.

Within hours of the report, the Blogosphere and social media were decrying yet another alleged attack by evil white men, once again, before the police had even had time to examine the evidence. Within hours, it was being reported that Ms. Moffitt had been raped and burned because she was wearing an Obama t-shirt, two claims that her family have declared to be completely unfounded.

This is the same pattern we’ve seen in the Zachary Tennen and Charlie Rogers hate crime hoaxes we’ve reported on in  just the past few months. Naturally, the Huffington Post reported unequivocally that “A Louisiana woman was the victim of a horrific attack during which she was reportedly set on fire and had her car defiled with the letters “KKK,” only to follow it up with a sheepish update regarding the dubious nature of Ms. Moffitt’s claims, just as they have done with both the Rogers and Tennen stories.

To his credit, even the Southern Poverty Law Center’s public relations chief, Mark Potok, has come out against Ms. Moffitt and several other hate crime hoaxers, claiming that lately, “Bogus hate crimes are all the rage.”

Of course, for Mr. Potok, these hoaxes are personal. When you work for an organization that takes in tens of millions of tax-free dollars a year claiming that “hate is everywhere,” false claims like these are bad for business.

Mr. Potok has a highly lucrative brand name to protect.

Unfortunately, neither Mr. Potok, nor the Anti-Defamation League (who were prepared to pull out all the stops over Mr. Tennen’s non-existent hate crime attack), nor any of the other Hate Industry major players are calling for stiffer legal penalties for these deliberate hoaxes.

Ms. Rogers is facing a misdemeanor charge, the Winnsboro police chief seems to feel that Ms. Moffitt’s severe burns are punishment enough and Mr. Tennen will walk away from his “boyish prank” scot-free.

We can expect to see more and more of these hoaxes, which needlessly inflame tensions and passions, while tying up valuable law enforcement resources, as long as the price for crying wolf is negligible. Hate crime charges are among the most serious that can be leveled in this country, and with that power comes the highest level of responsibility.

False hate crime charges should be met with federal repercussions. They won’t go away until the price becomes too high to pay.

Mr. Potok claims his self-appointed group is “tracking domestic terrorists,” well, if the definition of “terrorist” is “one who employs illegal methods to affect political change” then these criminals should be at the top  of his list.


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