Three university students who’d claimed they were victims of a racially-motivated attack on a bus in Albany, New York will now face charges for assault and misleading police about the entire incident.
The three African-American female students at the State University of New York in Albany told authorities they were called racial slurs and “harassed and assaulted” by a group of 10 to 12 white men and women on a city bus just after 1 a.m. on January 30th.
All three claimed they were injured during the attack, and one of the students was even transported to a local hospital with unspecified injuries.
But the University Police Department have now announced plans to charge the alleged victims, Ariel Agudio, Alexis Briggs, and Asha Burwell (above), all 20 years old, with assaulting a passenger on the bus and then falsely reporting an incident.
Police said in a statement that evidence gathered during their three-week investigation showed the students’ initial claims “that they were victimized, were false” and that the women, themselves, had allegedly assaulted a 19-year-old female passenger.
Interviews with the 35 passengers on board the bus at the time of the incident, security camera footage from the bus, and four videos taken by passengers on their mobile phones, all supported the charges against the women.
The incident had initially sparked multiple protests at the university, with hundreds attending a rally in support of the “victims”.
SUNY Albany President Jones had said at the time that he was “deeply concerned, saddened and angry” about the attack.
“This matter is now in the hands of the criminal justice system,” he said in the statement. “I look forward to the resolution of this case. I ask the community for its continued patience and respect as the judicial process continues,” he said.
All three students are now charged with third-degree assault and third-degree falsely reporting an incident, with Agudio also charged with third-degree attempted assault and fourth-degree attempted criminal mischief.
They’re due to be arraigned in Albany City Police Court on February 29th.