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NY college students indicted, accused of lying about hate crime

Three believed to be aggressors after reporting they were target of racially motivated assault on bus.
Flickr, Creative Commons

Three New York college students, whosaid that they were targeted in a racially motivated attack, are facing charges of fabricating the claim, prosecutors said.

Ariel Agudio, Asha Burwell and Alexis Briggs were eachindicted on a charge of assault and multiple counts of falsely reporting an incident, according to the Albany District Attorney's Office. Agudio and Burwellface additional charges of harassment and Agudiohas charges of attempted assault.

The three women, who are black, are students at the State University of New York at Albany. Theyclaimed that a group of white men and women attacked them on January 30duringa confrontation on a city bus, CNN reported.

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Theuniversity backed up thestudents with a rally and university President Robert J. Jones sent a letter to students and faculty saying he was "deeply concerned, saddened and angry about this incident," according to CNN.

On social media, thehashtag#DefendBlackGirlsUAlbanywas started as the incident made national headlines and the People of Color Caucus issued a letter in support.

That was until university police announced that the investigation revealed that the women were the aggressors in the assault. Security footage on the bus caught the women assaulting white students

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"What happened on the bus was not a 'hate crime,'" University Police Chief Frank Wiley said in February, according to CNN. "The only person we heard uttering racial epithets was one of the defendants."

In February, the women pleaded not guiltyto charges of assault and harassment, CNN reported.Agudio's lawyer, Mark Mishler, said in a statement that the charges were unwarranted.

"It isunfortunate 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," Misher said.

 
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