20-year-old Ohio man arrested for allegedly faking anti-Palestine hate crime

News & Politics

An Ohio man – who claimed he was a victim of an anti-Palestinian hate crime – has been arrested after authorities suspect he faked the attack.

Hesham A. Ayyad claimed that he was attacked for being Palestinian. He alleged that he was walking at 4:10 p.m. on Oct. 22 on a street in North Ridgeville, Ohio. Ayyad told officials at the Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations that someone driving a dark-colored SUV approached him on the road.

Ayyad, of North Olmsted, said that he was the victim of a hit and run by the SUV.

The day after the alleged attack, CAIR-Cleveland released details of the alleged attack.

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“The victim of the reported hit and run said he was walking home from eating lunch when a car slowed down and rolled down the window,” read a post on the website for CAIR-Ohio, Cleveland. “The driver of the car allegedly started yelling at him using anti-Palestinian statements like ‘Kill all Palestinians,’ ‘Long live Israel,’ as he swerved his car to intimidate the victim. The driver then allegedly turned around and hit the man while shouting ‘DIE!'”

Ayyad, 20, was reportedly taken to St. John Westshore Hospital for his injuries.

The statement posted a day after the alleged hate crime attack included a photo of Ayyad wearing a neck brace in a hospital bed.

The organization demanded that state and federal law enforcement authorities investigate the supposed hate crime attack.

“We call on state, local, and federal law enforcement authorities to monitor and investigate crimes related to the rising Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian racism. We hope the North Ridgeville Police Department and the FBI will collect all the information they need to charge this individual with a hate crime. We should all feel safe to walk down the street to grab a bite to eat, go to the store and go to school,” Faten Odeh – CAIR-Ohio, Cleveland Interim Executive Director – said on Oct. 23.

Unfortunately for Ayyad, police did conduct an investigation into the hate crime attack.

After reviewing multiple videos from the area of the alleged assault, the North Ridgeville Police Department determined that the allegations were a hate crime hoax. Investigators believe the Ohio man had lied about being struck by a vehicle and there were no racial slurs screamed at the time of the alleged attack.

Police detectives said Ayyad suffered the injuries from a fight with his brother and the hate crime was a hoax.

“It was further found that injuries sustained at the time of the incident were caused by a violent fight that the alleged victim had participated in with his brother, which was confirmed by area video surveillance,” police said.

On Tuesday, Ayyad was arrested and charged with making false alarms, falsification, obstructing official business, domestic violence and assault.

His brother, 19-year-old Khalil A. Ayyad, was arrested and charged with domestic violence and assault.

The brothers were held at the Lorain County Jail before being released from custody after they posted bond on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the Islamic council said on Wednesday, “We are currently seeking more information about this development. Our understanding is that the brothers have secured their own legal counsel. We do not yet know anything more about the nature of the charges.”

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