Three students from the State University of New York at Albany who claimed to be victims of a racial attack are now facing charges themselves.
As police and the Albany County District Attorney looked into the allegations that three black female students were attacked on an Albany bus by nearly a dozen white men and women in January, footage from cameras on the bus and eyewitness accounts painted a very different picture, reported WTEN-TV.
Alexis Briggs, Ariel Agudio, and Asha Burwell, all 20 years old, will be charged with third-degree assault said police, according to the New York Daily News. Agudio and Burwell also face charges for falsely reporting the incident. Rather than being the victims in the alleged attack, the police said the three women were actually the aggressors for attacking a 19-year-old woman on the bus.
“The evidence indicates they were actually the aggressors in the physical altercation, and that they continued to assault the victim despite the efforts of several passengers to stop them,” said a police statement, according to the Daily News.
The students’ initial accusations in January led to widespread outrage as reactions exploded on social media. One of the three students tweeted about the attack.
I can’t believe I just experienced what it’s like to be beaten because of the color of my skin.
— Asha Burwell (@AshaBurwell) January 30, 2016
Her brother, San Diego Chargers lineman Tyreek Burwell, reacted with his own tweet, threatening a student he thought was involved.
Tensions ultimately led to a campus rally that even drew the attention of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
There’s no excuse for racism and violence on a college campus. https://t.co/ADVghl4iEv -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 4, 2016
But as footage of the incident was reviewed, one source who watched the video told WTEN that it was one of the self-proclaimed victims who threw the first punch and no racial slurs by passengers were evident. In fact, the source said it was one of the girls who used a racial slur against another passenger.
Director of the Center for Law and Justice and social activist Alice Green was invited to watch the video footage from the bus, which has not yet been made public.
“I would not lock them up,” she said of the three students. “But if it comes to be that they made false claims, there needs to be an apology, perhaps.”
Watch the news story from WTEN video below.
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