KENOSHA -- The Kenosha County Sheriff's Department has released the name of the student who allegedly created a "hit list" (with her own name included) targeting African-American students. Officials say 21-year-old UW-Parkside junior Khalilah Ford, of Louisville, Kentucky, confessed to creating the hit list found on campus last week. The hit list was found after two nooses were found, made from rubber bands. The incidents created fear on campus, and led to a meeting of the student body, before it became clear the situation was a "hoax."
Officials say Ford sent a fake threat to the student who discovered a noose made of rubber bands in the Pike River Suites dorm. Then, detective say Ford put her own name, along with the names of other African-American students on the hit list, discovered in the dorm Thursday night. Ford allegedly told officials she created the hit list because she didn't feel the noose incidents were being taken seriously enough. Ford did not admit to creating the nooses - just the hit list and a threatening note.
Officials say charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer are being requested, and if the Kenosha County District Attorney's office agrees with the sheriff's department's assessment of the case, Ford will be mailed a notice to appear in court.
Kenosha County Sheriff. Bill Beth says Ford's name was the only name to appear spelled correctly on the hit list, and that was a big clue for detectives. Ford is on "emergency suspension" and not on campus. UW-Parkside Interim Dean of Students Cynthia Graham says Ford has withdrawn from school, and also says the school is re-evaluating how it handles racist incidents in the future.
Detectives continue to investigate whether there are other people involved in the racial threats. Officials say they continue to investigate the first noose incident, and say they're confident Ford had nothing to do with it. Police say no one is in custody at this time. "Once we have a chance to put everything together and discuss this case with the District Attorney’s office we will file charges. Too many people were frightened and upset to let this case go without charges being filed," Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said.
The incidents began Wednesday when a noose made out rubber bands was found hanging in the Pike River Place dorm. The next morning, the student who reported that incident, had another noose and a note with racial slurs placed on her door. Late Thursday night, students found a "hit list" with about 12 African-American student's names on it. Also attached to the list was a note saying they were going to die.
The Sheriff's Department says the student created the list and fliers because she was not happy with the initial response from a resident assistant to the noose.
Police have shifted from finding the perpetrator to protecting the perpetrator. Her name is not being released, in order to provide the opportunity to remove her from campus.
The threats created what some students described as "chaos" on campus. So much so, that some students left school out of fear. Students say it was disturbing to find out the whole thing was a hoax, and say the situation is embarrassing and unfortunate. "After we found out it was a hoax, it really tore up a lot of people that someone would feel the need to make up something like this," UW-Parkside student Jenn Zentmyer said. "When I found out it was a hoax, it just really hurt that much more," student Nick Lucente said.
A meeting was held on campus Thursday night to bring the student body together to talk. The room was packed, and students stood up to let their voices be heard. "This saddens me. I can't think. I've been crying since I got up this morning," one student said.
In a statement sent to students on Thursday, UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford said, “Hate cannot and will not be part of UW-Parkside. Our first step in responding is to make sure the individual who reported the hate incident is cared for.” Since the incidents, students and faculty have worn stickers that say "no hate" around campus.