An investigation by the Palo Alto Police Department has concluded that an East Palo Alto man who reported being stabbed in a downtown parking garage last July -- in a case that was probed as a hate crime -- made up the story and was actually stabbed during a fight that occurred in East Palo Alto with known acquaintances.
Police arrested Jesus Francisco Cabrera, 19, on Jan. 8 for falsely reporting a crime, according to a police department press release.
On July 15, 2015, police received a call from a local hospital about a patient, later identified as Cabrera, with a stab wound. Cabrera told police that he was walking to his car in the Bryant Street garage at about 7:45 p.m. when he saw three men standing nearby and making disparaging remarks about his ethnicity.
After a brief verbal exchange, Cabrera walked past the three men to get to his car when one of the men attacked him from behind. As the two struggled, a second man stabbed him in the thigh with a screwdriver, Cabrera told police. The supposed suspects, described by Cabrera as white males in their mid-20s, fled the scene on foot, Cabrera told police, and he drove himself to the hospital where he was treated and released that night.
Detectives began investigating the case as a hate crime and the police department released a press release on July 17 with sketches of two of the supposed suspects produced by a police sketch artist who met with Cabrera.
In the wake of the incident, the City of Palo Alto's Human Relations commission held a discussion on local hate crimes with a representative from the police department.
Detectives found a number of inconsistencies in Cabrera's statements during their investigation, according to the press release. In the end, the investigation revealed that Cabrera sustained the stab wound during a fight with known acquaintances in East Palo Alto after a dispute over graffiti and that no hate crime or stabbing took place in downtown Palo Alto.
The case was presented to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, which filed a charge of one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting a crime against Cabrera, according to police. An arrest warrant was signed last week and detectives summoned Cabrera to the police station on Jan. 8, where he was arrested and booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the police department at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984.