There has been a marked rise in the number of hate crimes in the U.S. One of the most recent is the reported case involving alleged victim Joseph Bracken in Missoula, Montana. Bracken told authorities that while celebrating his birthday at a local bar, he was asked to step outside for a cigarette. Once outside, Bracken claims that he was struck by someone, and that two others then joined in the beating. But there may be some holes in his story…
When he reported the alleged assault 3 hours later, it was determined that the injuries Bracken sustained were minor. In fact, according to authorities, Bracken’s injuries may not have been received as a result of an assault at all. A video tape has surfaced from earlier that night that may show Bracken attempting to do a back flip off a curb, and striking his face on the pavement. There may indeed have been no attack at all; Bracken may have made the story up.
At present, Missoula police are reviewing the evidence, and charges may be filed against Bracken if the allegations are found to have merit.
As mentioned, hate crimes are on the rise in this country. And while heinous, the victims bear the burden of their attacks; both physical and emotional. But when false accusations hinder the criminal process, it makes proving these cases more difficult. Add to that the victims’ sometime reluctance to even come forward after an attack. Whatever the circumstances, should the accusations against Mr. Bracken be proven, and he subsequently is convicted of filing a false police report, the punishment should fit the crime.
What are your thoughts on this pending case? Weigh in with your comments.