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California police investigate attacks on women wearing head scarfs

SAN DIEGO >> California authorities were investigating a reported attack on a college campus of a Muslim student wearing a headscarf as a hate crime today.

San Diego State University’s police department said two suspects who assaulted the student on campus Wednesday had targeted her because of her faith and made comments about Donald Trump’s election.

The woman was not hurt. Authorities said the assault occurred in a parking complex while the woman was wearing a hijab. The suspects stole her car keys, and the vehicle was later reported missing, authorities said.

“We condemn this hateful act and urge all members of our community to join us in condemning such hateful acts,” SDSU President Elliot Hirshman said in a statement.

A similar report came from Northern California, where a woman said she was walking in a parking garage at San Jose State University when a fair-skinned man in a hooded sweatshirt came up behind her and pulled at her head scarf, the university said in a statement.

The victim was briefly choked and lost her balance before the suspect ran away, the statement said.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris issued an information bulletin today to law enforcement agencies, outlining laws that prohibit hate crimes.

Meanwhile, a Louisiana student acknowledged she fabricated a reported attack by two men, one she said wore a “Trump” hat.

In the Louisiana case, the Lafayette Police Department said in a statement that it is no longer investigating the 18-year-old woman’s claims, which were made within hours of Trump’s presidential victory.

Police said the student told investigators she was walking near the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s campus Wednesday morning when she was accosted by two white men who drove up in a gray sedan. Police added the student had claimed the men shouted racial obscenities as they knocked her down and stole her wallet and the headscarf.

Charlie Bier, a spokesman for the university, said a federal privacy law prohibits him from saying whether the student could be disciplined.

Lafayette Police spokesman, Officer Karl Ratcliff, did not immediately respond to emails or phone messages from The Associated Press seeking further comment. But he told The Advocate that the woman offered no explanation for lying. He said the woman might now face charges herself related to filing a false police report.

“We don’t take this lightly, and it’s made national headlines now,” he said. “There will be consequences.”

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