Three SUNY students who claimed they were victims of a hate crime because they are black have now been arrested for brutally attacking the white woman they claimed was the aggressor, garnered the support of Hillary Clinton and other notables — until a surveillance video proved their detailed racial attack as a big lie.
The three SUNY at Albany students claimed white passengers on the bus used racial slurs and “ganged up” on them, and then physically attacked them on a bus. The county prosecutor has now filed multiple criminal charges against Alexis Briggs, Ariel Agudio, and Asha Burwell, and has deemed them the aggressors in the violent fight on the bus.
“I just got jumped on a bus while people hit us and called us the ‘n’ word and NO ONE helped us,” Burwell tweeted after the alleged hate crime occurred. She also said that she just found out what it is like to be “beaten because of the color” of her skin.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) March 1, 2016
The SUNY students have pleaded not guilty to the assault charges which have been levied against them in the racially-motivated attack, CNN reports. Agudio, Briggs, and Burwell have also claimed they are innocent on filing a false report charges. Agudio also faces charges of attempted assault, criminal mischief, and harassment. Burwell had a charge of harassment levied against her, as well.
The false report charges reportedly stem from the 911 calls Burwell and Agudio made to report the three SUNY students were victims of a hate crime attack that happened on the bus.
The black women were on a Capital District Transportation Authority bus on January 30. The SUNY students claimed that a 19-year-old white woman assaulted them on the bus. Evidence in the case reportedly indicates that Alexis Briggs, Ariel Agudio, and Asha Burwell launched the attack on the unidentified white woman, even as other passengers attempted to stop the beating.
All three of the black female students have been released on bail, the Albany Times Union reports. The women claimed that the 1 a.m. attack began after 12 other students, began taunting them with racial slurs. One of the women reportedly told the police that several white male students kicked her even after she fell to the floor of the bus.
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) March 1, 2016
“These charges would have a profound impact on the community, and in fact if proven, are shameful,” Judge Rachel Kretser said when the SUNY students were arraigned in court on Monday. Agudio’s attorney, Mark Mishler, deemed the charges against his client to be “unwarranted.” The lawyer further claimed that the student is an “exemplary young woman” who is also an excellent student. The student accused of falsifying a hate crime report is now asking the public not to “rush to judgment.”
During the nearly month-long investigation into the hate crime allegations raised by the University of Albany students, police officers reviewed footage from one dozen surveillance cameras, interviewed 35 witnesses, and watched video footage from four cellphones, WNYT notes. According to the Albany police, a white female passenger was identified as the real victim last week and some video footage shows a man also being assaulted at one point during the attack.
After the three SUNY students reported the alleged hate crime to the police and told their story on social media, outrage by the public ensued. A large rally was held to support the women on the campus and Hillary Clinton tweeted about the alleged targeting of the black women on the bus and made comments about violence on college campuses. Clinton has struggled to get the youth vote or to provoke excitement from university audiences like her Democratic Socialist opponent, Bernie Sanders.
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