Tables Turn on Students Said to Be Victims of Hate Crime

3 SUNY Albany women are now being charged with assault
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2016 8:45 AM CST

An attack against three black SUNY Albany students that they said was racially motivated has now taken a turn, NBC News reports. Ariel Agudio, Alexis Briggs, and Asha Burwell, all 20-year-old females, say they were on a late-night city bus on Jan. 30 when they were harassed by a group of about a dozen white men and women who hurled racial slurs and assaulted them, per a statement at the time from the university's president. But now, after police interviews with nearly three dozen people who were on what students refer to as the "drunk bus" and the review of security footage and passenger cellphone videos, the accusers are the ones to be charged with assault, the Albany Times Union reports. (Agudio and Burwell, who made 911 calls, are also charged with falsely reporting an incident.)

"The evidence indicates they were actually the aggressors in the physical altercation, and that they continued to assault the victim despite the efforts of several passengers to stop them," the statement adds, per the New York Daily News, with cops adding the victim was a 19-year-old white woman from Congers, NY. The alleged hate crime spurred at least one rally at SUNY Albany, WNYT reports, and the #DefendBlackGirlsUAlbany hashtag also gained traction online. Even Hillary Clinton spoke out about the incident, tweeting, "There's no excuse for racism and violence on a college campus." Which authorities may agree with, though after reviewing the evidence "the only person we heard uttering racial epithets was one of the defendants," police say, per the Daily News. (Arizona high school students got heat for spelling out a racial slur in a photo.)

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