Funny thing about hate crime: only when the victims are minorities or homosexuals does it prompt a police investigation and media attention. Another funny thing is, too often these “horrific acts of prejudice” end up being self-perpetrated hoaxes, which brings us to the last funny thing: when these fake hate crimes are exposed, the media attention is zero and the hoaxers rarely get charged for wasting police time and resources.
Richard Jones is a 21-year old gay man from Utah. He gained a certain amount of national attention for a series alleged attacks from April through June including one where homophobic words were carved in his arm. Well, it turns out Jones faked the whole thing and he probably won’t get in any trouble for it.
The Salt Lake City Tribune reports that Jones began reporting these hate crimes 3 months ago:
Jones first reported an attack to police on April 25, telling police that he was jumped after taking out the trash at Grand Central Station pizzeria. In that incident, Jones told police he was rendered unconscious and that the words “Die Fag” were carved into his arms with a sharp object.
Police were also called on April 30, after the same words were spray-painted on the side of the Jones family home and again on June 10 after a rock and a Molotov cocktail were thrown through a window, starting a small fire. The restaurant was also reportedly burglarized and vandalized with the spray-painted messages “You’ll Die” and “Burn Fag.”
$1,700 was taken in the “hate crime” burglary. Police offered a reward and stepped up patrols around the Jones’ family pizzeria. Gay activists and sympathizers flocked to the pizzeria to show support for Jones. Jim Dabakis, an openly gay Utah state senator, visited Jones saying, “[He] is a terrific young man, who is strong and seems to have terrific character.”
That strong young man with terrific character also set up a GoFundMe page to solicit donations to pay for his medical bills. He got in the neighborhood of $12,000.
Police announced on Tuesday that the entire thing was a complete load of crap:
An investigation into a string of purported hate crimes, which included “Die Fag” being carved into the arm of a gay Delta man, took a detour on Tuesday after police said the man admitted to harming himself.
Millard County Sheriff Robert Dekker said attorneys for Richard “Rick” Jones made the admission to his office last week.
“Our client is responsible for all of the incidents and that would include the cutting of his own skin,” Jones’ attorney, Paul Burke, confirmed to The Tribune on Tuesday.
Jones wasted police time, made false reports, defrauded donors, and vandalized and robbed his family’s business. But don’t you go thinking this was a hoax, as explained by Jones’ attorney:
“A hoax implies a genuine intent to deceive. From what I understand of this situation, this was a cry for help and it was a genuine cry for help,” said Paul Burke.
Police haven’t decided if they will charge Jones with any crimes related to this “cry for help.” His attorney doesn’t think they will, noting how officials have, “handled the situation with compassion and concern for the man’s well-being.”
Jones claims he will give back all of the money from the crowdfunding campaign, but so far he has just stopped accepting donations.
So once again a terrible hate crime against a protected class individual turns out to be complete and utter BS. And once again, the perpetrator of the hoax will likely face no punishment or repercussions. I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it again: if hate is a crime, then faking hate should also be a crime with an equal penalty.