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Freshman arrested for fabricating hate crimes
Posted 11-18-2003, 17:22 by David Weigel
Northwestern student Jaime "Xander" Saide, who claimed last week to be the victim of racist attacks, has admitted to Evanston police that his story was fiction. He was arrested Monday and charged on two counts of felony disorderly conduct for filing false police reports.
"I become really upset when childish pranks divert police resources away from investigations," said Evanston Police Chief Frank Kaminski on Tuesday. "I am absolutely appalled when such pranks instill fear into our community, and I will do everything in my power to ensure this case is carried to its conclusion."
Vice President for Student Affairs William J. Banis said in a statement that Northwestern "will respond appropriately to these developments," but did not disclose what actions are being taken.
"These fabricated incidents inflamed and upset the entire campus community needlessly,' Banis said in the statement. "At the same time, we are, of course, concerned about the health and well being of all of our students, including Xander Saide."
Saide, a freshman in the School of Communication, filed a police report on Nov. 5 and claimed that the words "Die Spic" had been written on his wall. Three days later, he told police that he had been attacked from behind and held at knifepoint while walking to his dorm. Saide told the Daily Northwestern that attackers had threatened him and said "Spic, we didn't run away this time."
Police later discovered that Saide had fabricated both incidents.
"When you're an investigator, you deal with people every day, and you develop gut feelings," Kaminski said. He told reporters that Saide confessed after the story fell apart.
The charges against Saide come after a week of heated campus activism. On Nov. 9, student leaders met to organize a three-part anti-hate campaign. On Nov. 11, minority students were encouraged to wear black clothing and maintain a vow of silence. The next day, all students were encouraged to wear black before changing into Northwestern attire and rallying at The Rock, a south campus landmark. More than 500 students came to the rally to cheer speakers, including Saide.
"The feeling of that knife is still with me right now," he said in a speech that was broadcast on local TV news.
When asked why Saide might have fabricated the police reports, Kaminski suggested that he wanted to "bring attention to himself and his cause." He did not repeat what was said between Saide and police on Monday.