Three SUNY Albany students who claimed to be the victims of a racist attack on a city bus were charged Monday for falsifying the report. On Wednesday, the women pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to CNN.
Back in January, Ariel Agudio, Alexis Briggs and Asha Burwell, all 20, told police that they were verbally harassed and then assaulted by a group of 10 to 12 white students on a bus heading to campus while bystanders watched, NBC News reports.
The alleged incident resulted in hundreds of people protesting on the UAlbany campus, and caught the attention of important figures like Hillary Clinton, who tweeted, “There’s no excuse for racism and violence on a college campus.”
According to NBC News, after reviewing video footage of the event, Albany police have discredited the womens’ claims, saying they were actually the aggressors, not the victims.
A February press release from the University says that both Alexis Briggs and Ariel Agudio have been charged with assault in the third degree and falsely reporting an incident in the third degree, and Alexis Briggs with assault in the third degree.
“We took this incident very seriously and did a thorough and careful investigation,” UPD Chief J. Frank Wiley was quoted as saying in the release. “The evidence shows that, contrary to how the defendants originally portrayed things, these three individuals were not the victims of a crime. Rather, we allege that they are the perpetrators.”
Lawyers for Agudio and Burwell have both said in statements that the defendants are not guilty, with Burwell’s lawyer calling SUNY Albany “University of Injustice,” according to NBC.