Authorities are charging three young women who claimed they were the victims of a racially motivated attack with assaulting another young woman.
Ariel Agudio, Alexis Briggs, and Asha Burwell, all 20, claimed they were attacked by a group of 12 white men and women who spewed racial epithets on a bus around 1 a.m. on Jan. 30.
But UAlbany police announced Thursday that the three women are actually the ones charged with assault, because they pummeled a 19-year-old woman from Congers, NY.
"The evidence indicates they were actually the aggressors in the physical altercation, and that they continued to assault the victim despite the best efforts of several passengers to stop them," said police at UAlbany, part of SUNY.
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All three women are charged with assault, while Agudio and Burwell are charged with false reporting.
"I just got jumped on a bus while people hit us and called us the 'n' word and NO ONE helped us," Burwell tweeted on Jan. 30, then adding, "I can't believe I just experienced what it's like to be beaten because of the color of my skin."
"These were my fellow classmates, people that attend MY school," she continued, before stopping tweeting on Feb. 12. "I begged for people to help us and instead of help they told us to 'shut he f*ck up' and continuously hit us in the head."
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, rallies were held using the #DefendBlackGirlsUAlbany hashtag at which Burwell spoke publicly, stating,"We are proud of who we are. Black women. And no amount of hate will change that," at a rally, according to a local reporter.
Burwell and Agudio first falsely alleged that they were victimized in 911 calls after the incident, university police said in a press release. They reportedly claimed there was a "racial crime."
However, 35 passengers on the bus, 12 security cameras from the bus, and four videos taken by other passengers contradicted that version of events.
There was no evidence the women were racially targeted or that racial slurs were used, said University Police Department chief Frank Wiley, who invested 300 man-hours into the case.
"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," Wiley said in a statement. "What happened on the bus was not a 'hate crime.' ... The only person we heard uttering racial epithets was one of the defendants. And it is important to note that no witness reported hearing any racial slurs directed at the defendants. And those witnesses were people from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds."
All three women will be arraigned in Albany City Court on Feb. 29.