In late January, three black female students at SUNY Albany claimed that they were targeted by as many as a dozen white students in a hate crime that turned physical on a CTDA bus. 

The situation first came to the attention of the public when one of the three students, Asha Burwell, 20, tweeted about being involved in a physical altercation. The school’s Dean immediately sent out a letter condemning the act and the public came to the girls’ immediate support and even held a rally in their honor.

After three weeks of interviewing witnesses and watching footage captured on camera, Albany City Police allege that the three students indeed weren’t the victims, but were actually the aggressors as they attacked an unidentified female passenger, according to CNN.

“No male struck the three women,” a police statement said. “The evidence indicates they were actually the aggressors … and that they continued to assault the victim despite the efforts of several passengers to stop them.”

All three of the students, Burwell, Ariel Agudio, 20, and Alexis Briggs, 20, potentially face charges of third degree assault. Burwell and Ariel Agudio, 20, additionally face charges of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree and Agudio also faces a charge of attempted assault in the third degree and attempted criminal mischief in  the fourth degree.

“What happened on the bus was not a ‘hate crime,'” said university Police Chief Frank Wiley. “The only person we heard uttering racial epithets was one of the defendants.”

The students have been given court appearance tickets for arraignment on Monday, according to police.


Photo Credit: WTEN-TV