A black University of Iowa student is not going to be charged after lying to police about being the victim of a hate crime, as well as instigating several fights.
According to the Chicago Tribune, 19-year-old Marcus Owens informed police in early May that he was attacked by three white men who damaged his eye and teeth, all the while shouting racial obscenities toward him.
The incident sparked distrust among minority students in the University, prompting the Black Lives Matter movement to gain exposure on campus as well.
However, a two-week investigation by Iowa City Police found that an underage and intoxicated Owens was actually the instigator of several fights in downtown Iowa City.
Police said that Owens would not face charges for being intoxicated under age, filing a false report or assault- citing that they wanted to avoid lengthy court proceedings.
“It became clear at some point that the community, not Marcus, was the victim in this event and it was important to us to get the truth out there,” said Capt. Troy Kelsay, who referred to Owens as a “liar” at a news conference.
Owens’ family claims his testimony was inconsistent due to the face that he was drunk and issued a formal apology.
“Marcus Owens and the entire Owens family would like to issue their deepest apologies to Marcus’s friends, the Iowa City community, the University of Iowa, and the Iowa City Police Department for the misunderstandings and anxiety stemming from Marcus’s involvement in a violent incident in downtown Iowa City on May 1,” the letter said. “Just as we have learned many life-changing lessons, we hope too that the community will continue to examine the many issues raised by this unfortunate incident.”
While it is unclear if Owens will face discipline from the University, Owens’ attorney, Leon Spies, said his client intends to remain enrolled and “aspires to have a successful academic career at the University of Iowa.”
“I think the outcome for all is fair,” he said.
University President Bruce Harreld seemed less enthusiastic about the end results, citing a tense situation on campus among minorities.
“Regardless of the outcome, this incident highlighted a level of fear and distrust on our campus that must and will be addressed,” Harreld said.
Owens graduated high school in 2015 and was allegedly involved with a fraternity at the University of Iowa
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