Skip to comments.Insanity and Politics: McCain Supporter Attacked in Pittsburgh(Fake Hate Crime Alert)
Posted on 10/24/2008 9:38:09 AM PDT by bahblahbah
Police in the Bloomfield area of Pittsburgh, PA say a 20-year-old Ashley Todd may have been viciously assaulted because she had a McCain/Palin bumper sticker on her car. Sounds like it began as a routine robbery; the robber pulled a knife, Todd gave him sixty bucks. Then the criminal saw the McCain bumper sticker on the woman's car. He beat Todd with his hands and fists. Then, bizarrely, he used his knife to scratch a "B" on her face. Police told local Pittsburgh media that Todd refused treatment.
One Pittsburgh news outlet says only that Ashley Todd had the bumper sticker on her car. Another, the Post-Gazette, described the victim as a "McCain staffer" from Texas. The paper also quoted police spokesperson Diane Richards, who said authorities couldn't "substantiate" Todd's story, yet.
The suspect is said to be a 6'4", 200-lb African-American male. He was wearing dark clothing.
The robbery wasn't captured on the bank's security cameras.
According to the Pittsburgh Channel, the Obama campaign has issued a statement about the attack, saying that their "thoughts and prayers are with the young woman for her to make a speedy recovery, and we hope that the person who perpetrated this crime is swiftly apprehended and brought to justice."
CBS 13 published a report online stating that the Republican candidate for vice president, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, "spoke with the victim by phone." The McCain campaign has issued their own statement about the crime, calling it "sick and disgusting."
This crime is so bizarre and potentially politically-charged it's already produced a screaming, bold-red headline at the Drudge Report. Be prepared to hear a lot more about it.
Edited To Add: In the comments below, "Happy" gave this link for the cached MySpace of an Ashley Todd from College Station, TX. She gives her age as 23, but otherwise, she appears to resemble the victim in this case. The headline on this Ashley Todd's now-private profile reads, "Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her cloths off, but its better if you do" -- a riff on a song by Panic! at the Disco, but an interesting choice anyway. It may be the wrong Ashley Todd, but the shape of her face and hair seem similar. I've also saved a copy of the page. Also, thanks to my fellow crime blogger Chris, we have what appears to be a link to a Twitter account for the same Ashley Todd.
Click the thumbnail of a screen capture of that Twitter account above and read it. It appears to be a narrative covering her arrival in Pittsburgh, her search for an ATM, and an allusion to what happened afterwards. You be the judge as to how believable it is -- or not.
ETA II, Electric Boogaloo: If you want to read some of Ashley Todd's blogging between 2006 and 2008 or so, just click this -- copy of blog.myspace.com/rabbitrocker. Based on political views, name, age range, and home town, it seems clear that "rabbitrocker" Ashley is the same Ashley Todd who reported the bizarre mugging in Pittsburgh last night.
Just in case you think it's only people in the center and on the left of center who doubt this story, read this post by popular, arch-conservative blogger Michelle Malkin. Whatever you think about Malkin's politics, she is anything but stupid. Malkin writes:
"Ive reported on the great lengths that warped attention-seekers have gone to in perpetrating fake hate crimes, including beating themselves up, carving swastikas on their dorm room doors and walls, locking themselves in bathroom stalls, and burning down their own houses.
"Which is why Im not jumping up and down with outrage over Drudge-promoted story of a McCain volunteer claiming to have been attacked by a black man whom she accused of carving a B in her face after spotting her McCain bumper sticker."
Michelle Malkin's perceptions are dead-on. And Ashley Todd's contrived Twitters from last night as well as her strange MySpace headline about "lying" all lend support to the idea that she could be, as Malkin put it, one of those "warped attention-seekers." The other shoe on this story will drop by tomorrow, and any sympathy left for Ashley Todd on the right or the left will dry up immediately. I admit it now -- I began doubting the story almost immediately, but I held my fire till now. I knew I might be right when friends who are McCain supporters began to express their own doubts. Malkin's skepticism seals it, though -- this story is hogwash.
**Last Update for this post**
A reader pointed out some interesting things about the Google cache of Ashley Todd's MySpace:
-- She was pulling for Ron Paul at one point. Just look at the page. This may not be significant, but I figured it was worth a mention.
-- Her last login was October 17, last Friday. The page has only been made private in the last 6 days, otherwise Google couldn't have cached it. My guess is that she made it private after reporting the "mugging."
-- Something I noticed, which isn't related to this at all -- I get the impression she either knew or was friends with murder victim Ashton Glover, based on a video embedded in the page dedicated to Ashton. I only noticed this because one of the last articles I wrote for Court TV's (now TruTV's) Crime Library was about the 2006 murder of that teen from Sugar Land, Texas.
Also, from reader "ruth G," there's this late development: "Police planned to administer a polygraph test to Ashley Todd, 20, because her statements about the attack conflict with evidence from the Citizens Bank ATM where she claims the incident occurred, police said." Emphasis was added.
There seems to be a growing, bipartisan consensus online that Ashley Todd may not be telling the truth. The 20 (or 23) year-old from College Station, Texas told police in Pittsburgh, PA she was mugged and assaulted Wednesday night at an ATM in Pittsburgh's Bloomfield neighborhood. You can read all about that here: "Insanity and Politics: McCain Supporter Attacked in Pittsburgh."
Todd kept a blog on her now-locked MySpace. A copy of the blog's main page as it appeared on August 10, 2008 is embedded above. This passage from an entry posted July 1, 2008 jumped out at me: "Thankfully my closest of friends have assured me that when I finally am a victim of political assassination or brutal murder for running my mouth, that they will be honest at my funeral."
Todd obviously has a strong interest in politics. She was in Pittsburgh to do some sort of work for the McCain/Palin campaign, and one of her "General" interests on her MySpace profile is "Ron Paul 2008." So -- the joke about "political assassination" makes sense, since she might have ambitions to run for office in the future.
But the statement I quoted above is interesting because it parallels what Ashley Todd says happened to her on Wednesday night. Todd told Pittsburgh police that her mugger robbed her of $60 at knifepoint. Then, according to her, he noticed that she had McCain bumper stickers on her car. The mugger -- whom Todd described as a 6'4", 200 lb black man in dark clothing -- started talking smack to the woman he'd robbed and she says he beat her with his fists and feet. Todd says he carved that mysterious backwards "B" in her cheek, seen in this photo.
In essence, a routine mugging turned into a politically-motivated assault because of what Ashley's alleged mugger perceived to be "statements" from her, as evidenced by the bumper stickers on her vehicle. Bumper stickers, particularly stickers related to political campaigns, are a form of using one's car to run one's mouth. And an attacker carving a "B" in a woman's face for McCain bumper stickers would be a case of the victim having been assaulted for essentially running her mouth.
It really isn't a stretch to say that there's an eerie echo in Ashley's off-the-cuff blog post from last July in what she says happened to her. Luckily, she wasn't "assassinated" or murdered.
I say "luckily." I suppose I'm being kind, because that implies Ashley Todd could be telling the truth. I don't believe she is.
Now the police say they want the young woman to take a polygraph, because her "statements about the attack conflict with evidence from the Citizens Bank ATM where she claims the incident occurred."
Seems like the narrative is about turn on this politically involved young woman from Texas. After reports of the assault hit the news -- aided by feverish headlines from Matt Drudge -- Ashley Todd reportedly received calls from both Sarah Palin and John McCain, expressing sympathy.
If her story is indeed entirely made up, she's made them look like fools. In fact, she made the Obama campaign look a foolish for buying her line of bull, as well, since the Democratic candidate's people issued a statement roundly condemning this crime and saying they hoped "that the person who perpetrated this crime is swiftly apprehended and brought to justice."
Ashley Todd may not have had any clue as to what she was doing when she reported this "crime." At 20 (or 23 -- the age given on her MySpace profile) a lot of people still have very little ability to govern their impulses or predict the outcome of their actions.
If Todd didn't have a clue then, she may have one now. She's made her Twitter feed and MySpace private, acts that smell like retreat. If she goes through with the polygraph, I will be utterly amazed. My prediction is that a lawyer will become involved and start pointing the finger back at the Pittsburgh police. The case will linger until after the election, when some sort of arrangement will quietly be made between Ashley Todd and the authorities -- she'll get off with a fine for false reporting, perhaps.
If I'm wrong, I'll get in the line to apologize. Along with Michelle Malkin.
Extra link of interest, via Ms. Malkin -- Google's cache of Ashley Todd's Facebook. Not much to see, but there ya go.
In an interview on MSNBC, Pittsburgh reporter Jerome L. Sherman just stated that Ashley Todd also told police that she'd been sexually assaulted. Here's Sherman's article in the Post-Gazette. Money quote from the article: "Yesterday, [Todd] said the man sexually assaulted her, a detail that police said she didn't mention in the initial report."
Curiouser and curiouser.
It's probably a good idea to make a little list of some of the more important aspects of the story about the alleged assault on McCain campaign volunteer Ashley Todd. The following isn't intended to be comprehensive. It is intended to support my contention that Todd's story is a big, steaming pile of b.s.
-- Speaking on-air to MSNBC's Contessa Brewer, police spokesperson Diane Richard said that police asked Ashley Todd to take a lie detector test. Todd did so. Richard would not reveal the results. Richard also said that details of Todd's story have changed in her talks with police.
-- According to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (linked below), the student from College Station, TX said her attacker "sat on her chest, pinning both her hands down with his knees and used what she believed was a dull knife with a roughly 5-inch blade to carve the B." A very carefully-rendered but somehow backwards B, to boot.
-- Todd didn't report the crime immediately. She went to a friend's residence, one mile from the scene of her alleged mugging. I can't figure out what universe you have to come from for this aspect of the story to make any sense at all.
-- That friend says Ashley Todd "went to an unknown hospital on her own" some time after midnight. Emphasis added.
-- A police Commander named Larry Ross told Pittsburgh reporters that Todd didn't make any reference whatsoever to her McCain bumper sticker when she first made a report to the police. Ross said, "I don't know how she came to the conclusion that he noticed the sticker."
-- People working at businesses close to the scene, according to the Post-Gazette, "were unaware of the attack."
Blogging for Salon.com, Alex Koppelman uncovered some additional interesting details about Ashley Todd. Alex writes, "This isn't the first time this year that Todd has claimed to be involved in an election-related incident. Earlier this month, she posted to YouTube a video she shot of a janitor at New York's Queens College. In it, she says, "this janitor took down all of my signs... and tore them apart... I am really perturbed. He closed off the bathrooms and is making it very hostile." The janitor shown in the video just happens to be a tall, well-built black male. Much like Todd's alleged attacker in Pittsburgh.
So far, I've only read one statement from a good source that lends anything resembling credibility to Ashley Todd's story. It was in the article published by the Post-Gazette: "[Police Cmdr Larry Ross] said the description of the robber as a 6-foot 4-inch, 200-pound black man is similar to that of a man who robbed a Liberty Avenue bank in recent weeks." That's it. And that's not much, is it?
The other shoe on this story hasn't hit the floor yet, but I hear it whooshing through the air. The next big question to answer: will Ashley Todd eventually be arrested for filing a false report?
I wouldn't be surprised, but you just never know.
What this young woman needs is help. She has a problem, and it's about to become unmanageable for her. I almost feel sorry for Ashley Todd. Almost.
You can view the entries to her myspace blog on this post...
I mashed the three posts together...
Drudge should be revealing who deceived him too...
I predict a fake.
I also predict she’ll not be treated by the media like the Duke rape accuser was. (IE she won’t get a book deal)
if the perp was standing with her feets awaz from him or the image is flipped, it’d be correct.
Then I think that the most likely scenario is that she was attacked, and given that she is in the middle of a political hot bed in Ohio, decided to fabricate additional details to make it look bad for Obama.
I think she may have been mugged, and may even have had the attacker scratch a “B” on her - which she originally said he told her was for “Bitch” - and decided to get some attention for herself by making it sound political. I have learned never to underestimate what some people will do to get attention...
The indicent was alleged to be black on white, doesn’t qualify as a hate crime.
If she’s telling the truth, I’ll ete my hat.
Your hat is very, very safe.
The B is backwards. I’ll bet she did it in the mirror!
Turns out she lied.