Last month, three University of Albany students claimed to have been targeted and beaten on a public bus “for being black.” The attack drew rallies in support of the students, a Twitter threat from an alleged victim’s NFL linebacker brother, and even outrage from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, signed in her name on Twitter.
But video of the ‘attack’ from the bus security cameras shows a different story: One of the students who alleged she was beaten is seen striking a man, who doesn’t retaliate.
A tweet expressing anger at the “racism and violence” against the students—now proven to have never occurred—still remains on Hillary Clinton’s Twitter page.
The three 20-year-old, black University of Albany students—Ariel Agudio, Alexis Briggs, and Asha Burwell—first claimed to have been beaten on an Albany city bus on January 30th. Burwell alleged in a 911 call that they were “jumped on a bus for being black” and that “they were calling us the n-word.”
On February 1, a rally was held at the University of Albany, where Burwell, Agudio and Briggs took the podium.
But Albany Police announced Thursday night that, instead, the three students would be charged with misdemeanor assault, and Agudio and Briggs would also be charged with falsely reporting an incident.
“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,” Albany Police Chief Frank Wiley said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “I especially want to point out that what happened on the bus was not a ‘hate crime.’”
Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton had tweeted in solidarity with the three students on February 4th.
“There’s no excuse for racism and violence on a college campus.—H,” she wrote, then included a link to a USA Today story about the fracas.
She has not yet deleted the Tweet or commented on the case since.
DeRay McKesson, who is running for mayor of Baltimore and is credited as one of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement, also tweeted support for the girls on February first.
“#DefendBlackGirlsUAlbany,” he wrote. He also hasn’t deleted the tweet or commented on the case since new details have been revealed.
Tyreek Burwell, a San Diego Chargers linebacker and the sister of Asha Burwell, even tweeted at a man whom he believed had attacked his sister on January 30th.
“"@[redacted] just found out you were one of the dudes that put your hands on my little sister. Hope the police get to you before I do,” he wrote.
The user had previously tweeted that he had “just watched an A1 Albany bus fight,” but not that he had participated in it.
Burwell has since deleted the tweet.
On February 11th, two weeks before Albany’s police department charged the three students, Asha Burwell tweeted “Please don’t confuse my silence with defeat. I’m still fighting this, like I said I will not give up. The truth will come out soon.”
But Wiley, who released all of the audio and video tapes available for the incident, reiterated in a statement that all of the incident was caught on tape.
“We spent a great deal of time carefully reviewing the audio recordings to determine whether any racial slurs were used. The only person we heard uttering racial epithets was one of the defendants,” he wrote. “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.”