You may remember this incident from March 2016. Of course, they walked free.
Two of the three SUNY-Albany students who were involved in an alleged racial hate crime incident on a bus in January of last year have avoided the more serious charges against them. Ariel Agudio and Asha Burwell were convicted this past week on two counts of “falsely reporting an incident”; however, they were acquitted of five assault and harassment charges.
Remember: it’s not that it really happened this way, but it could have happened this way.
The case goes back to the early morning hours of January 30, 2016, when three black female students claimed they were taunted with racial slurs and attacked by a group of white men.
As news spread of the incident, people from Albany President Robert Jones to Hillary Clinton expressed support for the girls. Jones even stuck to his guns, so to speak, after evidence came to light which disproved the students’ story.
Surveillance and cellphone video footage and eyewitness testimony did not align with what the trio had claimed; in addition, the 911 call one of them (Agudio) had made displayed a rather jovial demeanor which included Agudio’s quip “I think it’s so funny … I just think it’s so funny how, like … I beat up a boy!”
Months later, Alexis Briggs confessed to fabricating the whole tale. In a plea deal, she avoided jail time. Agudio and Burwell rejected any deals and hence ended up going to trial.
Throughout the whole affair, local activists stood by the young women. The author of a local Black Lives Matter-affiliated “open letter” said “When we see city and university officials not offering any neutrality or even support for these young women, for us, that’s totally unacceptable.
“Black and brown women are vulnerable at all times to violence, and oftentimes are not believed in response to any violence that they endure. They’ve [law enforcement] pursued it in a very aggressive manner, which is quite dissimilar to how they’ve pursued other incidents.”