Kathy Mirah Tu's story of racism, assault, bravery, and self-defense is a remarkable one.
Is it also believable?
That's what some are beginning to wonder on Friday morning, well after the story posted to Facebook by Tu, an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota, had gone viral. Originally posted Wednesday night, Tu's post had been shared more than 20,000 times within a couple days.
It also has more than 5,000 comments, and counting; many of the most recent ones are not supporting Tu's tale of heroism, but ridiculing her and those who shared a story that's now being called into question.
According to Tu, she was walking across the Washington Avenue bridge on the University of Minnesota campus Wednesday when she was accosted by a white man, who was accompanied by a group of friends.
Tu says the man yelled that she should "go back to Asia." Tu was "shocked," and tried to walk away from the man, who she says pursued her, telling her she was being disrespectful.
Tu says the man's call for her to leave the country was especially insulting to her, since she's an American citizen. She also wrote that he blamed "affirmative action" for her getting into the University of Minnesota.
Tu writes she again tried walking away from the man, who grabbed her by the wrist. She told him to let her go, and he refused, despite Tu warning that he would be "injured" if he didn't.
"He took my warning as a joke, and said " okay, lets fight then, you can't beat me anyways look at how small and shrimpy you are", and he actually dared to punch me ( more than once). Things got serious really quick cause kathy doesn't mess around with that stuff. Before he could attack me again I used my self defense skills and got out of the hold he had on my wrist and punched him straight up in the throat ( Which honestly I am not apologetic for what so ever)."
Tu then says the man's friends rushed to his aid, accused Tu of "assaulting" her bully, and called the police on her. (Tu's story doesn't specify which police department was called to the scene.) When said cops arrived, they initially took the side of the man and his friends, Tu writes, and she was placed in handcuffs while waiting for them to "check [her] information."
She writes she was eventually taken out of handcuffs, and after hearing a warning delivered in "police jargon" was allowed to leave on her own volition.
It's this last part, about Tu's troubling interaction with the police, that's tripping people up this morning. Neither the University of Minnesota Police Department nor the Minneapolis Police Department has any record of responding to a call on the Washington Avenue Bridge.
"Many people have contacted us about a social media posting about an incident with a female on the Washington Avenue Bridge yesterday," reads a post from the Minneapolis Police Department's Facebook account. "At this time we have not been able to find a record of a police call relating to this incident. If anyone has information please contact us, we would like to talk to the person who posted this on social media."
Likewise, campus police used social media to put out a call for more information about an alleged incident they claim to be unaware of.
We heard complaint from student related 2 Wash bridge yestdy, UMPD didnt respond to bridge or make an arrest— U of MN Police Dept (@UMPDGopher) November 10, 2016
We would like to talk to this individual involved. Please contact 624-COPS so we can look into it— U of MN Police Dept (@UMPDGopher) November 10, 2016
Sorry we don't have many details other than a female said she was assaulted on the Wash bridge and then handcuffed by officers.— U of MN Police Dept (@UMPDGopher) November 10, 2016
Again, UMPD was not involved but want to talk to the female who posted this on social media— U of MN Police Dept (@UMPDGopher) November 10, 2016
City Pages attempted to reach Tu on Thursday and again on Friday. She has not responded.
UPDATE: As of mid-Friday morning, Tu has deleted the Facebook post telling the story of her fight on the Washington Avenue bridge.