The University of Iowa freshmen who earlier this month sparked widespread outrage with his report of being assaulted during a racially-fueled attack will not be charged for making up the story so the community can begin to heal.
And Iowa City authorities said that is important because this community has real social justice issues needing attention.
Like in communities and on college campuses nationally, Iowa City and university leaders have been working to address concerns around race relations and tensions, and Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness on Tuesday said she worries Marcus Owens’ false report of a hate crime might set back those efforts.
“I fear it will,” Lyness said. “I do think people make racist comments in Iowa City and elsewhere, and I fear people don’t report it.”
Owens, 19, could have faced a false-report charge — not to mention underage drinking and disorderly conduct charges, but Lyness said filing charges would have kept the community from learning the truth until much later.
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