ALBANY, N.Y. – Three black female students at the University at Albany lied when they recently claimed they were attack by a group of white men on a bus, and were actually the ones who attacked a white female teen, police report.
“The evidence shows that, contrary to how the defendants originally portrayed things, these three individuals were not the victims of a crime,” University Police Chief Frank Whiley said in a statement, according to the Albany Times Union. “Rather, we allege that they are the perpetrators.”
“I especially want to point out that what happened on the bus was not a ‘hate crime,’” he said.
Black female University at Albany students Ariel Agudio, 20, Alexis Briggs, 20, and Asha Burwell, 20, allegedly filed a false police report when they called 911 around 1 a.m. Jan. 30 to report they were attacked by a large group that included white men on the bus while passengers and the bus driver ignored the incident, the news site reports.
“It was a racial crime,” Agudio told 911 dispatchers, Fox News reports. “They were calling us (N-word) and all this stuff … And if someone doesn’t come and take this down or something, I’m going to call the news.”
The incident occurred on a city bus during the late night route commonly referred to by students as the “drunk bus.”
The three black women took to social media after the altercation, which sparked outrage on campus and a rally to highlight the incident as an example of “a broader cultural failure to stick up for women of color.”
Burrell was the most outspoken of the three, alleging on Instagram that the girls were pounded in the head by white male attackers.
“A whole bunch of guys starting hitting me and my two friends, punching us in the head,” she posted, further alleging the bus driver “let the bus sit at the stop at the social science building while my friend got beat in the head by white guys.”
The women gained national media attention, and a tweet from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton condemning the “racist” attacks, the Times Union reports.
“There’s no excuse for racism and violence on a college campus,” Clinton wrote as police investigated the alleged hate crime.
Authorities reviewed bus camera video footage, cell phone videos of the incident, and spoke with numerous witnesses, all of which confirmed the woman are liars, police told the media.
“The video and audio evidence at the statement of every witness demonstrate that no male struck the three women,” the university police statement read. “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.”
The target of their rage was a 19-year-old white woman from Congers in Rockland County, the Times Union reports.
In several surveillance camera videos posted by the news site, the black women are seen swinging and trying to push her way through a crowd of white males to attack the white girl.
Agudio, Briggs and Burwell all now face a misdemeanor assault charge. Burwell and Agudio are also charged with falsely reporting the incident. The assault charge is punishable by up to one year in jail.
Mark Mishler, Agudio’s attorney, alleges police are jumping to conclusions without all of the evidence.
“It is also unfortunate that some in the media and public appear to have reached a conclusion as to what occurred in this incident without actually having the information needed in order to reach such a conclusion,” Mishler said in a statement.
“Ms. Agudio, an exemplary young woman, an excellent student who has never previously been in legal trouble, asks that people not rush to judgement on this matter,” he continued. “We appreciate those who have spoken out in support of Ms. Agudio. This case will now play out in the court system. We trust, in the end, that Ms. Agudio will be vindicated.”
University president Robert Jones also issued a statement asking for “continued patience and respect as the judicial process continues.”
Students, meanwhile, seem to be taking Jones’ advice.
“I do agree that certain things about this seem to be exaggerated and blown out of proportion,” student Mikaila Williams told the Times Union. “But we didn’t know how much video they have and we didn’t know what they saw, so it’s more like, until I know for sure, of course I’m going to support them.”