The three black University of Albany students who alleged that they were victims of a race-based hate crime on a public bus back in January have now been officially indicted themselves.
Alexis Briggs, Asha Burwell and Ariel Agudio, all 22 years old, face a litany of charges including assault, harassment and falsely reporting a criminal incident, reports the Albany Times Union.
The bus brawl occurred in the wee hours of Saturday, Jan. 30. Briggs, Burwell and Agudio swore they were victims of a hate-fueled mob assault on the bus. The trio claimed they began arguing with a group of 10 to 12 white men and women, who were also SUNY Albany students. The argument escalated into a torrent of racial slurs, they claimed. One of the women said she was pushed to the floor and then kicked repeatedly by several of the men.
“I just got jumped on a bus while people hit us and called us the ‘n’ word,'” Burwell declared on Twitter. “NO ONE helped us.” Burwell suggested the attack was purely racially-motivated and accused others on the bus of being illegal “bystanders.”
The racially-charged allegations sparked immediate outrage on campus. Hundreds of students gathered on campus for a protest. They demanded justice. They tied the incident to the national Black Lives Matter movement. SUNY Albany president Robert Jones cut an off-campus trip short to return and pledge to hold the perpetrators “fully responsible.”
The social media hashtag #DefendBlackGirlsUAlbany was created to stand in solidarity with the women.
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton got into the act, tweeting a link to an article covering the story days after the incident occurred. “There’s no excuse for racism and violence on a college campus,” wrote Clinton, whose campaign has made a major push to appeal to black voters. (RELATED: Hillary Hoaxed: Black Students Clinton Backed Charged Over Phony Hate Crime Claim)
Burwell and her comrades might have gotten away with their claims if it wasn’t for those darn 12 different cameras on the bus at the time that were able to capture the incident in detail. Several of the cameras captured audio. (RELATED: Another Supposed ‘Hate Crime’ Falls Apart In New York)
Albany County district attorney David Soares said on Tuesday that the various cameras on the bus prove that the students were the aggressors and that their claims of racial victimization are entirely fabricated.
Agudio faces a single count of assault, three counts of attempted assault, three counts of harassment and a count of falsely reporting an incident.
Burwell faces an assault charge, a harassment charge and four counts of falsely reporting an incident.
Briggs faces an assault count and a pair of counts for falsely reporting an incident.
All the charges are either misdemeanors or violations. (Violations are basically lesser misdemeanors under New York law.)
Prosecutors say the victims of the assaults committed by Briggs, Burwell and Agudio are an 18-year-old female, a 19-year-old female, a 20-year-old female and a 19-year-old male.
After the women exited the bus, prosecutors say, they called 911 to report that they had been victims of a racially-motivated mob assault. (The Times-Union has published audio of that 911 call.)
Briggs, Burwell and Agudio will appear in Albany city court for arraignments on Wednesday. Each defendant already pleaded not guilty in March. The reason for the delay in court proceedings is that the district attorney had been trying to work out a plea deal with attorneys for the students. The plea deal would have included public apologies.
All three defendants are residents of New York.
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