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…
…Owens’ original story — the one he and his family shared with numerous news outlets across Chicago and the Iowa City area — is what did not happen, according to Iowa City police.
Owens did not get to Eden Lounge and Nightclub in downtown Iowa City at 9 p.m. He did not step outside to make a phone call between 10 and 11 p.m. He was not jumped by three white men shouting racial slurs. And he did not promptly return to his dorm room, according to police.
Instead, security camera footage — along with witness reports — show Owens entering Eden at 11:43 p.m. and then getting involved in a larger bar melee about 1:35 a.m. Bar staff removed Owens, who then tried to re-enter, according to the video recording.
A short time later, at 1:41 a.m., Owens got involved in a fight at the corner of Iowa Avenue and Linn Street before throwing punches in a third fight just three minutes later. All the footage show Owens acting aggressively, shoving and pushing and yelling.
“We very quickly learned through video evidence that the events as reported by Marcus just did not happen,” said Iowa City police Capt. Troy Kelsay. “Marcus was not even present yet at the bar at the time he reported he was assaulted.”
He suffered injuries during at least one of those, “which is unfortunate,” Kelsay said. “But when you go looking for multiple fights, that is going to happen.”