Angelica Marie Mendez, 23, was arrested for falsely accusing a white family of sexually assaulting and abusing their adopted black daughter
A Hispanic woman who sparked outrage on social media after posting a video accusing a white family of sexually abusing their black adopted child has been arrested for allegedly filing a false police report.
Angelica Marie Mendez, 23, of Desert Hot Springs, was charged Saturday after officials in two states discovered her video was a hoax and she “weaponized” social media by spreading false information about an innocent family.
She was released the same day after her arrest after paying $25 bail, according to inmate records.
Mendez can be seen in the video where the family is filmed in a Costco in Palm Desert. “So this family, they don’t feed their adopted child,” she says. ‘She is crying. They are racist against their daughter. We have to expose these people, this family.’
She adds that the white family “denies her” and “probably uses her as a slave.” Mendez concludes the video by saying she called the family. She says, “I’m not going to let this pass. That is very rude and very disgusting of these people.’ Police did not attend, but Mendez later filed a police report.
In her posts, which have since been deleted, Mendez said the black girl seemed sad, so she approached her to ask what was going on. She claimed the girl was “begging for help” and said her parents had raped and abused her.
The viral posts gained traction on social media, with some users identifying the girl and her family by name and revealing their home address. They also found the father’s workplace and added a phone number to call so they could “rescue” the girl.
DailyMail.com is refusing to publish the video because it turned out to be a hoax, but the two images below show what Mendez saw at Costco that day.
She filmed the family at a Costco in Palm Desert, saying they “denied her” and “probably used her as a slave”
The viral posts gained traction on social media, with some users identifying the girl and her family by name and posting their home addresses.
Mendez’s video and police reports led to investigations by both the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and the Arizona Gilbert Police Department, who contacted the family.
Gilbert’s police tweeted that the child was “safe and in good health.” The tweet added: “Their investigation and subsequent interviews revealed that the child had refused to eat on the day of the video recording due to an upset stomach.”
Gilbert Police added that the Arizona Department of Child Safety has conducted its own separate investigation into the incident and that “no evidence of any crime has been identified.”
In a press release, the Riverside County Sherriff’s Department said there was “significant public outcry” over Mendez’s allegations, which “initiated hundreds of hours of labor by various law enforcement agencies, in two separate states.”
Mendez’s video and police reports sparked investigations by both the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and the Gilbert Police Department
Gilbert’s police tweeted that the child was “safe and in good health.”
“There were four independent investigations into this incident. All four independent investigations concluded that the allegations were false. It appears that the reporter made up the allegations and had no corroborating evidence to back up her claims. Her allegations, both to the police and to the public, showed numerous inconsistencies.”
‘The countless calls to our control room consumed precious calling time for other citizens who needed emergency assistance. The Sheriff’s Department also wants to explain that if this was a legitimate criminal incident, the frivolous aspects and misinformation would have hindered the investigation and ultimately the child’s well-being. Not to mention the adverse effect on any future prosecution efforts.”
The department added that Mendez weaponized social media to “spread false information, criminal accusations and racial prejudice against what is by all accounts a happy and healthy family.”
The department reminded people not to believe everything they see on social media. “While we appreciate the understandable outrage over child crime, we encourage the public to be involved and helpful with law enforcement so that it can be a community effort in fighting crime.
Mendez was admitted to the John Benoit Detention Center and charged with reporting a false crime and providing false information to a police officer, both felonies. Her next court date is scheduled for December 1, 2021.