A woman in Houston raised $42,000 off her claim that a man attacked her with a brick.
But local police say Roda Osman faked her story, and she's been charged with theft by deception.
Police said they have video evidence, but Osman told Business Insider the officers are lying.
A woman in Houston who said she was attacked in the face with a brick is now facing arrest by local police, who allege that she faked the story as part of a scam that raised $42,000 on GoFundMe.
But in a lengthy interview with Business Insider, the woman defended her changing story, accused police of targeting her, and insisted she's the victim of an assault.
Roda "Rho" Osman, 33, went viral on social media in September 2023 after posting videos saying that a man hit her face with a brick after she refused to give him her number.
In a video shared on social media — which was later taken down — Osman appears to be dressed in a hospital gown with a swollen face and alleges the man attacked her.
"He picked up a brick in front of so many men, and was like, 'What you gonna do?'" she says through tears.
"And I told all these men, like yo, why does this man got a brick on my face?" she says in the video, accusing the other men of doing nothing as she was attacked.
The video went viral last year, and Osman was nicknamed "Brick Lady" with many creators jumping in to debate what happened.
Over the next two months, a GoFundMe page called "Help Roda Recover" raised over $42,000.
The description on the page, which has been removed, begins, "My good friend Roda was viciously attacked with a brick by a man she refused to give her number. She was surrounded by onlookers who stood by and did nothing to help her - not even calling an ambulance."
But Osman is now being charged with one count of theft by deception, which can carry up to 10 years in prison.
Police allege Osman's story doesn't add up
In a detective's affidavit outlining the charge against Osman, police said surveillance footage shows that although Osman was injured in the confrontation, she was the aggressor.
The detective writes that the footage shows Osman, her female friend, and the man she says attacked her get into a vehicle together outside a club.
A few minutes later, the three get out of the car while Osman and the man appear to be verbally fighting, the affidavit says, citing the surveillance footage.
Osman then hits the man in the face with an "unknown object" before he strikes her in response with a plastic water bottle, the affidavit says. Police have not made the footage available, and BI hasn't seen it.
The detective wrote that Osman filed a complaint with the police, but changed her story at least once when speaking to him on the phone.
Osman initially told the detective that she called an Uber, and that a man arrived in a car she believed was her hired ride, according to the affidavit. She told the detective she entered the car and was hit by the man with a brick, it stated.
The affidavit also said Osman claimed the man was "involved in human trafficking and had a large group of females in the car with him."
The affidavit says Osman then changed her story, telling the detective she was instead assaulted in a nightclub.
The detective said she got upset when he pressed her for more information, asked to speak to his supervisor, and then hung up.
The detective wrote in the affidavit that he also spoke to Osman's female friend, who told police that she didn't think Osman was hit with a brick.
Police allege in the complaint that Osman had a friend start the GoFundMe page based on the story that she was attacked with a brick.
Police said in the complaint that several donors reported the GoFundMe page as a fraud.
In a statement to BI, GoFundMe said that Osman's fundraiser has been removed from the platform, all the donors have been refunded, and she's now been barred from using the site.
"GoFundMe has zero tolerance for the misuse of our platform and cooperates with law enforcement investigations of those accused of wrongdoing," GoFundMe said in its statement to BI.
The affidavit also says Osman had a similar GoFundMe set up for her in 2020, with a $5,000 goal, over a separate incident in which Osman alleged a security guard attacked her.
The detective said he interviewed a woman who was living with Osman when the first GoFundMe was created; the former roommate said the donation was based on a false story, according to the affidavit.
The detective also wrote in the affidavit that there was no police report of the alleged 2020 assault.
The Houston Police Department confirmed to Business Insider that Osman is still wanted, and said she is the only one who has been charged in connection to the incident.
Osman responds to fake story allegations
In an interview on Friday, Osman told BI that the night of the incident, she and a female friend met two men while going clubbing. Osman said that one of the men harassed her all night for her phone number, even though she turned him down.
At around four or five in the morning, Osman told BI she was standing on the street with her friend and the two men, trying to figure out if she would call an Uber.
She said the man who had been bugging her forced her hand "over his penis" and choked her, so she tried to get away from him. The affidavit outlining the charges against Osman does not mention Osman's claim that Douglas forced her to grab his penis.
She then says he hit her over the head with something before he ran to his friend's car to escape.
Osman told BI that's when she saw a brick on the ground, which she assumed he used to hit her.
Osman alleged that police are lying about the surveillance footage; she says she never had an object in her hand and that the object the man hit her with could have been a liquor bottle.
After being struck, she said she then called the police and was taken in an ambulance to the hospital.
Osman shared her hospital records with BI, in which a doctor reported a contusion on the left side of Osman's face and blood coming out of her left ear.
Osman told BI that she couldn't recollect everything perfectly clearly because she had just been hit over the head, had a concussion, and had been drinking.
"Not remembering every single detail of assault and trauma is not a crime," Osman told BI, adding, "I think the police saying that I changed my story is an indication that they never treated me like a victim to begin with."
Osman told BI that she believes the police filed charges against her in retaliation for her reporting one of the officers who handled her case.
Houston Police Department declined to comment on her allegations.
She also stressed that she shouldn't be charged with fraud because she didn't create the GoFundMe drive. Osman told BI that her friend made it for her because she wanted to help.
In response to the police's allegation that Osman ran a fake GoFundMe in 2020, Osman said, "That was not fraudulent. They are getting that from social media."
"It's not a crime or hoax to be attacked more than once in your life," she said, adding, "They have no right to say that my last attack was fake, and in fact, it is another indication of their innate bias and refusal to see me as a victim."
She also said she never reported the 2020 incident to police because she had handled it with the establishment where it happened.
"There's no such thing as a perfect victim," Osman told BI. "Nobody deserves to be assaulted, and nobody deserves to be re-victimized over and over and over again."
Read the original article on Business Insider