A woman who went viral after she claimed she was assaulted by a man with a brick has now been accused of raising at least $40,000 in a fundraising scam.
Roda Osman, 33, has been charged with felony theft by deception but has yet to be arrested at time of writing, according toKRPC.
The ‘brick’ incident became well known after an Instagram Live by Ms Osman went viral, claiming that while outside a club in Houston, she was assaulted by a man who hit her with a brick after she refused to give him her phone number.
The video sparked debates online over whether the video was just a hoax, but it also led to a now-deleted fundraiser being set up on GoFundMe, which raised around $42,000 in more than 1,000 donations.
In court documents obtained by The Independent, investigators believe that the events Ms Osman claimed happened do not align with surveillance footage of the incident and allege that she unlawfully took fundraising money off the back of it.
On 3 September, Huston police officers responded to an incident concerning aggravated assault where they met Ms Osman and her friend at the scene.
Police noted that during the investigation, Ms Osman was “intoxicated, hostile and irate,” the court documents said.
Ms Osman claimed she was walking when an unknown man threw a brick at her because she refused to give him her phone number, the original police report said.
She then claimed that she ordered an Uber and thought the male suspect was the Uber driver. She went on to allege that when she got in the car with him he tried to kidnap her, saying the suspect was involved in human trafficking and had a large group of women in the car with him, court documents stated.
The detective on the case tried to contact Ms Osman with the phone number provided on the report, but he later found out it was the phone number of her friend, the documents stated.
The friend told the detective she and Ms Osman went to several clubs, and they both “had a lot to drink.” The last spot they went to they did not like, so they left and Ms Osman called her male friends to pick them up.
The two friends allegedly got into the car when she heard Ms Osman yell, “Ouch, why you hit me,” but the friend did not believe there was an argument that happened before this.
When speaking to Ms Osman after the incident over the phone, the detective said Ms Osman claimed she called an Uber to pick them up and got into a vehicle she thought was her Uber, according to the court documents.
She stated that was when the male hit her in the face with a brick and did her “own investigation” and found the identity of who allegedly assaulted her, claiming it to be Olan Douglas and showed a photo of him to the detective.
Weeks after the alleged assault, the detective reviewed surveillance footage from around the time of the incident.
The footage reportedly showed Ms Osman, her friend, and someone who resembled Mr Douglas, the man whom Ms Osman claimed had assaulted her, entering a club together before leaving again 20 minutes later.
They all get into a car with an unidentified driver before Ms Osman, her friend, and the man get out a few minutes later.
Ms Osman and Mr Douglas were allegedly in the middle of a “verbal argument when Defendant Osman swung her right hand while holding an unknown object and hit Mr Douglas in the face. Mr Douglas then swung his right hand while holding what appeared to be a plastic water bottle and struck Defendant in the face.”
“She was the aggressor,” Keith Houston, from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, told KPRC.
He added to the outlet that they think the water bottle in the man’s hand is possibly what left the mark on her face that is seen in videos on social media.
After the alleged assault, Ms Osman went live on Instagram, speaking about the alleged incident, and the video went viral.
After this, a GoFundMe page was set up listing Ms Osman as a beneficiary of the account, but the account was organised by another person, who stated that Ms Osman “asked her” to create the account, the documents said.
The page raised around $42,000, stating that she was attacked by a Black male after she refused to give her phone number.
However, the court documents also state they heard from a blogger on TikTok who told investigators that she believed Ms Osman was conducting a scam because of a similar claim she made in Minneapolis in 2020.
Another GoFundMe account was created at the time for or by Ms Osman, with a similar narrative of a “Black man hitting her.”
The GoFundMe, which was called “Help Black Muslim Mother Pay Her Medical Bill,” was set up claiming she was viciously assaulted and needed $5,000 for medical and legal fees, among other things.
However, a detective from Minneapolis said there was no report of Ms Osman being assaulted in 2020.
A spokesperson from GoFundMe told KPRC that the company has “zero tolerance for the misuse of our platform and cooperates with law enforcement investigations of those accused of wrongdoing.”
“The fundraiser has been removed from the platform, all donors have been refunded, and Roda Osman has been banned from using the platform for any future fundraisers,” they added.
She also added: “I am the victim. I was harmed. I never harmed anyone,” according to the outlet.
The Independent has contacted the Houston Police Department for more details.