A group of young children fabricated the story of a white man in Michigan accused of urinating on and verbally abusing a five-year-old black girl with racial slurs, police said.
The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office announced Friday they would be dropping charges against a 60-year-old Grand Rapids man accused of the crime when they discovered the children, who were seven-years-old or younger, had made up the tale.
Parents of the children told prosecutors their children “concocted the story to avoid trouble,” prosecutors said.
“We appreciate the conscientiousness of the parents in bringing the matter to the attention of the police, and continuing to ask their children questions as new evidence was obtained,” prosecutors said.
M Live reported that when the allegations were made public Wednesday, community members voiced their concerns and NAACP leaders issued statements Friday condemning the incident as a sexual assault and a hate crime.
The children told the police they were playing outside when they saw a man urinating on a girl through a chain-linked fence. The five-year-old girl’s parents told the police the man not only urinated on her but called her a racial slur.
Police said they identified the suspect, a man in the neighborhood who worked odd jobs, and took him into custody.
Prosecutors said the suspect had a “verifiable alibi” confirmed by people who could attest to his whereabouts at the time of the alleged incident.
Authorities released the man from custody after prosecutors dropped the charges.