While there’s no reason to doubt that many of these accounts are legit, CBS News reports that one of these more highly-publicized cases was revealed to have been entirely fabricated.
On Wednesday, 18-year-old Yasmin Seweid was arrested and booked by New York’s Hate Crimes Task Force — the same unit Gov. Andrew Cuomo created to combat such instances — after she admitted that she had made the entire incident up.
— David Mack (@davidmackau) December 14, 2016
“They were surrounding me from behind and they were like, ‘Oh look, it’s an f***ing terrorist.’ I didn’t answer.
They pulled my strap of the bag and it ripped, and that’s when I turned around and I was really polite and I was like, ‘can you please leave me alone?’ and everyone was looking, no one said a thing, everyone just looked away…
They kept saying, ‘you don’t belong here, get out of this country, go back to your country,’ and finally they came really close and they were like, ‘take that rag off your head.”
She also seemed to blame the president-elect himself for the fabricated incident, saying that he “just promotes this stuff and is very anti-Muslim, very Islamophobic, and he’s just condoning it.”
After the NYPD noticed inconsistencies in her story — including that there was no video evidence and no witnesses — she reportedly “admitted to police that she had been out drinking with friends and made up the incident to distract her strict father.”
On Wednesday, when Seweid arrived in court, she was almost unrecognizable — reportedly another consequence of her “strict father”:
I'm thinking that Yasmin Seweid's dad shaved her head and sent her out without a hijab because she brought shame on the family. pic.twitter.com/tHHiqz6lbZ
— Seth Barron (@SethBarronNYC) December 15, 2016
As New York Daily News reports:
Her strict, Muslim parents allegedly forced Seweid to shave her head over the incident and were upset that she was dating a Christian, sources said.
Still, it seems that not all of her family has been so quick to vilify her:
Yasmin Seweid's sister has posted about the incident on Facebook: pic.twitter.com/pW3cgEVBsP
— sara yasin 😐 (@sarayasin) December 15, 2016
Noting that she was “horrified” by her sister’s actions, Seweid’s sister Sara took to Facebook Thursday to lash out at both the media — whom she said “made things so much worse for my family” — and the NYPD, whom she accused of leaking “private information that my sister had disclosed to them.”
Seemingly referring to Muslim women in general, Seweid’s sister added:
“The NYPD doesn’t care about us or our safety. Never did…
You don’t think calling for an 18 year old girl to be jailed for lying to be violent and abhorrent?”
For the NYPD, however, wasting police time and resources investigating fabricated accounts isn’t something to be taken lightly.
The teen has been charged on two accounts: filing a false report and obstructing government administration.
If convicted, Seweid could face up to a year in prison for each charge.