It was a story that had Black Lives Matter advocates and the local media in a tizzy – Three young black women allegedly assaulted by 10-12 white men and women on a CDTA bus, all the while being barraged with racial slurs.

It even received national coverage when leading Democrat presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, tweeted this message of support for the story and the girls involved:

We were among the first to report that the entire incident was a hoax however, and now the three women – Asha Burwell, Ariel Agudio, and Alexis Briggs – have been indicted by an Albany County Grand Jury on charges stemming from the incident.

Via WAMC:

Albany County D.A. David Soares announced Monday that three defendants were indicted by an Albany County Grand Jury on charges related to an alleged incident that occurred on a CDTA bus on January 30th.

Ariel Agudio, Asha Burwell and Alexis Briggs face several charges, including 3rd degree Assault and Falsely Reporting an Incident. The three UAlbany students had said they were attacked on board a CDTA bus because of their race. Audio and video from the bus did not support the allegations. The case went to the grand jury after the three 20-years olds refused a plea deal that would have required an apology.

The three women are set to be arraigned in Albany County Court on Wednesday.

On January 30th, one of the victims, Asha Burwell, tweeted about being “beaten because of the color of my skin.”

 

The incident sparked protests at the school.

Protesters, including members of the National Congress of Black Women and the Albany chapter of Black Lives Matter, showed signs of support for the women, demanding change in the form of hiring minority faculty and providing sensitivity training for University police.

Burwell and her fellow alleged ‘victims’ gave tearful speeches on campus.

SUNY Albany president Robert Jones, before having any of the facts straight and going solely on what he heard from Burwell and her companions, issued a statement saying he is “deeply concerned, saddened and angry about this incident.”

Within days, cell phone video of the incident made it’s way to social media. The video, along with other footage screened for local civil rights advocates, didn’t seem to support the women’s claims of racial slurs being thrown at them, and in fact showed that Agudio, Burwell, and Briggs instigated the entire incident.

Numerous other camera angles were viewed by officials, and over 30 witnesses were interviewed.

Audio of the 911 calls surfaced shortly thereafter, with one catching Agudio twice saying of the incident that “I think it’s so funny,” before adding she “beat up a boy.” As the call is transferred, Agudio’s tone changes almost immediately as she tries to tell the dispatcher that she and her friends “got jumped” in a “racially” motivated attack. Additionally, the girl who had seconds ago said she “beat up a boy” now claimed that “we were three black girls beaten up by 20 white people.”

Audio of yet another 911 call involved Agudio saying “I think it’s funny how I had three b**ches down.”

Despite mounting evidence that the three SUNY students had lied about the entire incident, their lawyers continued to insist that they were being “academically lynched” and claiming it would be unfair if they were kicked out of school.

Eventually, in late February, the women would be charged with their own crimes for not only fabricating the story, but for assaulting the same innocent students they would later claim were racist.

One of the true victims endured cervical sprain and/or bruising and an investigator called their story “false and baseless.”

Despite the gravity of their actions, actions that had the potential to start race riots in the city of Albany, the three women were still given a chance to atone for their crimes.

They were given the opportunty to accept a plea deal if they made a public apology to the students whose reputations could have been destroyed by their story. They refused, and the case moved to a grand jury which has now decided to indict them on elevated charges.

The Daily News reports on the charges leveled against them by Albany County DA David Soares:

Soares announced an array of charges against each of the women Monday. Agudio faces one count of assault, three counts of attempted assault, three counts of false reporting and three counts of harassment.

Burwell is charged with one count of assault, four counts of false reporting and one count of harassment, while Briggs is charged with one count of assault and two counts of false reporting.

The three women, who pleaded not guilty to false reporting charges filed in a lower court in February, will appear for their arraignments on their upgraded raps in county court Wednesday.

Whether it was their lawyers or their inner circle of friends that advised them not to take the plea deal, these women certainly did not get good outside advice.