SOMERS — Kenosha County sheriff’s officials are recommending charges be filed against a Kentucky woman who allegedly created a “hit list” of students — including herself — before posting it in a residence hall at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, according to the sheriff’s department.
Detectives are requesting that the Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office file charges against Khalilah N. Ford, 21, of Louisville, after detectives said evidence implicated her amid an investigation into a series of reportedly racially motivated incidents on campus last week, which included two purported nooses and the alleged “hit list.” Ford’s name was released Monday afternoon as the person who created this list of targeted students.
The incidents coincided with the beginning of Black History Month.
If approved, Ford could be charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer, the sheriff’s department stated.
Efforts were made to reach Ford on Monday for comment, but she couldn’t be reached.
A student on Wednesday found a noose-like contraption made from rubber bands and plastic string in the Pike River Suites residence hall, which sheriff’s Sgt. Bill Beth said was “hanging near the trash chute in the middle of the hallway.”
After reporting it, the student — senior Aubriana Banks, 22, of Beloit — said she found a second noose and a threatening note on her door Thursday, according to investigators and Banks. Later that night, fliers containing racial slurs were found listing several black students and Ford by name and stated they were going to die in two days.
Beth on Monday said Ford did not make the nooses.
“The first one was string and rubber bands hanging in the hallway. I guess it was interpreted as a noose by Khalilah and Aubrey,” Beth said. “That’s how they perceived it. But we haven’t heard an explanation” for why nooses would be hung at those locations.
“There was some heated discussion (recently) in a class along racial (lines). I don’t know if that’s related to this,” Beth said.
Ford and Banks are friends, he added.
Investigators don’t know who hung the nooses, Beth said. And they are not even sure whether the contraptions are nooses, he added.
Ford, a junior at Parkside, reportedly confessed Friday evening to making the list after being confronted with evidence pointing to her involvement in this incident, according to the sheriff’s department. However, because of the ongoing investigations, detectives wouldn’t release details about this evidence.
Ford told them she created the “hit list” to draw more attention to the issue, according to investigators. They, in turn, told students the threats were a hoax.
“We’re very confident there’s no threat to anyone’s safety,” Beth said.
If prosecutors agree to charge her, Ford would be sent a notice through the mail informing her to appear in court. No court date has been set.
Multiple messages were left Monday for several staff with the Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office, but they weren’t available for comment.
Attempts to reach Banks on Monday also proved unsuccessful.
The university, at 900 Wood Road, hosted campus-wide meetings at the end of last week. Administrators and police also increased security patrols and opened a criminal investigation.
Parkside spokesman Dave Buchanan said while officials are expected to charge Ford, detectives still are investigating. Other charges could be filed later against subsequent suspects.
“But it’s not over with yet,” he said.
Anyone with information about these incidents may contact the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department at (262) 605-5102.