Authorities in Kenosha County, Wis., are recommending criminal charges be filed against a 21-year-old University of Wisconsin-Parkside student who confessed to what initially appeared to be hate crimes.
Khalilah N. Ford of Louisville, Ky., “confessed Friday evening when presented with evidence pointing to her involvement,” Sgt. Bill Beth of the Kenosha County Sheriff's Office said in a statement released Monday afternoon.
The young woman’s confession came two days after a string of rubber bands – apparently intended to appear as a noose – was found in a common area of a dormitory on the university campus in Kenosha.
Not long thereafter, a second noose fashioned out of plastic was found with a handwritten note left on the dormitory door of a young black woman, authorities said. Following those discoveries, a handful of fliers with racial epithets and a “hit list” of intended victims turned up on the campus.
“Evidence led detectives to suspect one of the people on the list,” Beth said Monday. “When confronted with the evidence, the suspect confessed that she had made the ‘hit list’ because she was not satisfied with the initial response from a residence assistant” who was shown the rubber bands that were said by some to look like a noose.
Sheriff’s detectives will recommend that the district attorney’s office file misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer, Beth said. “The university has told us she’s on emergency suspension; she’s off campus.”
University officials initially took the threats seriously, and ordered increased security at the dormitory and on the campus.
“It is good to find out that there was not an actual safety threat to our students,” university Chancellor Deborah Ford said.
Parkside Police Chief James Heller said his officers immediately “shifted from finding the perpetrator to protecting the perpetrator” as she was being “removed from the campus.” It wasn’t clear if the student will be expelled.