GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — An outrageous set of accusations claimed a man committed a disgusting act against a child while uttering a racial slur.
But after two days, we find out that the children involved were making it all up.
It started Wednesday when a woman living on Grand Rapids’ Northwest side said that a 5-year-old girl soaked with urine came running to her house. The story that allegedly came from the girl and her friends was that a man urinated on her in an alley in the 1000 block of Leonard Street NW and then used a racial slur against her.
It sparked outrage and led to the leader of the NAACP calling on Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker to investigate the incident as a potential hate crime.
Cle Jackson, President of the Grand Rapids chapter of the NAACP, said all his organization ever wanted was for the allegations to be thoroughly investigated and for due process to take place.
But things changed Friday evening when the prosecutor’s office issued a statement saying that the parents of the children revealed that the story was fabricated.
“It’s the parents who really got to it which is typical for a case like this,” Becker said.
The prosecutor’s office says one of the children urinated on another child, and the story was concocted to avoid trouble. The prosecutor’s office is still conducting lab tests to verify the latest story, but the man was cleared.
“It’s not right. He may have done things in the past but for them to do that to him is wrong. Totally wrong, it’s not right,” said Sandy Olsen, a neighbor. “Especially the hate crime thing. Oh wow, that’s big.
At the man’s home, he did not come to the door and later made it clear he did not want to talk.
The father of the girl said he plans to give an apology man-to-man. The age of the children involved precludes the possibility of legal action against them.
A father of boys who lives two doors down from the man says he is a good neighbor who helps others and keeps to himself.
“He respects my family, he always respects us, we never had no problem with him,” said neighbor David Siova. “He’s gonna be afraid to come outside because people will pick on him.”
**Editor’s note: The former suspect’s name has been removed from this story as there are no charges against him.