Detroit, MI, September 14, 2012 … On August 28, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) received a report that a Michigan State University sophomore had been the victim of a serious and violent hate crime during an off-campus party. According to the report, the student was saying that he had been knocked unconscious and had his mouth stapled shut by two men who allegedly asked if he was Jewish, chanted "Heil Hitler" and gave the Nazi salute.
Since the incident first came to light, ADL has attempted to gather as much information as possible. We met with the victim and his family, discussed the matter with law enforcement officials and others in the university community, and issued a press release urging law enforcement to investigate the allegations and to determine whether a hate crime had occurred.
Our understanding is that the investigation is now nearly complete. Based on interviews with more than 50 witnesses who were at the party that night, the East Lansing Police have apparently concluded that while the student was the victim of a serious physical assault, the evidence does not support his claim that the assault involved anti-Semitic hate speech or gestures, nor does it indicate that the incident was motivated by his religion.
The story is a very sad one, on many levels. However, based on the best information currently available, ADL does not believe this incident should be treated as a hate crime.