It had all the makings of a race-baiting, Al Sharpton-esque protest movement. Three young black women allegedly assaulted by 10-12 white men and women on a CDTA bus while they shouted racial slurs. Certainly disturbing if true, and the local media and Black Lives Matter supporters all jumped on board in promoting the story.
The problem? It didn’t quite happen that way at all.
On January 30th, three African-American students from the University of Albany claimed they were harassed and assaulted on a CDTA bus.
Early Saturday morning, three UAlbany students were allegedly harassed and assaulted while riding on a CDTA bus on Western Ave in Albany.
The three students, who are three black females, said racial slurs were used by the perpetrators, whom they described as a group of 10 to 12 white males and females.
UAlbany president Robert Jones said he is “deeply concerned, saddened and angry about this incident”.
One of the alleged victims tweeted about being “beaten because of the color of my skin.”
I can’t believe I just experienced what it’s like to be beaten because of the color of my skin.
— Asha Burwell (@AshaBurwell) January 30, 2016
The incident sparked Black Lives Matter protests at the school, as demonstrated by the images from this Times Union article.
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.
As it turns out, the biggest crime at SUNY Albany may have been the crimes against grammar committed on the signs protesters were carrying.
Parents shelling out money for an education at the school may want to reevaluate after seeing students carrying signs with the phrases “Stay Woke,” or “Keep Black Womyn Safe.”
Two separate news channels spoke with sources who had seen security footage from the CDTA bus that night, and they say the story pushed by the young women is falling apart.
Jessica Layton of WNYT reports “sources close to the investigation say the bus surveillance footage does not seem to back up what the three young women are alleging.”
She added, “The sources say the video tells a different story about what happened.”
WTEN also spoke to sources close to the investigation:
Officials, including the Albany County DA, are looking at security video from inside the bus. The bus had at least 12 cameras on it, which include audio. Sources tell NEWS10 ABC the video is damaging the young women’s accusations.
Anya Tucker reported that one investigator watched the video “several times” and reported that “it was in fact one of these three self-proclaimed victims of this attack who actually threw that first punch.”
Tucker also said the investigator claims the video reveals that “not at any time were racial slurs ever hurled at any one of these three young women.”
Asha Burwell, one of the victims cited in the tweet above, happens to be the sister of Tyreek Burwell, an offensive lineman for the San Diego Chargers.
Tyreek tweeted a message to one of the wrongfully accused assailants when the story first came out:
That threatening message was quickly deleted.
The damage however, had already been done. The student Tyreek threatened left school, concerned for his safety.
“He’s gone, he left school,” a fellow student said.
Will the students be charged with filing a false police report if it turns out the surveillance video does indeed show a different story? Will the NFL consider looking into Burwell’s threats to a student who was not involved in the incident?