Two University of Albany students were expelled and a third suspended for two years after they were indicted for perpetrating a hate crime hoax.
The three students were on a municipal bus when, they claim, 12-20 white men assaulted them and directed racial epithets against them. But video recorded on the bus shows a much different story: the women were the aggressors and the victim was a 19-year-old white woman.
Ariel Agudio and Asha Burwell have been dismissed from the university and Alexis Briggs has been suspended for two years, according to an email sent to the school community Thursday by President Robert J. Jones, the Albany Times Union reported.
The women grabbed national headlines — and a sympathetic tweet from Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton — after claiming that a group of 12 to 20 white men hurled racial slurs and attacked them on a CDTA bus about 1 a.m. Jan. 30 while others stood by and did nothing.
The alleged incident sparked a large on-campus rally defending women of color and the social media campaign #DefendBlackGirlsUAlbany.
Police now say there is no evidence to back up their story and that the women were the actual aggressors, according to footage captured by cameras on the bus and by witnesses. The actual victim, police said, was a 19-year-old white woman who was also a bus passenger.
The three women were indicted this week by a grand jury and arraigned for 10 misdemeanor charges, including assault, attempted assault and false reporting, along with a violation for harassment, the Times Union reported. They have pleaded not guilty.
The three didn’t show up for their student conduct board hearing March 9, because their lawyers cited a conflict of interest in which UAlbany served as judge in the board hearings and witness in the criminal case, the Times Union reported.
Inspector Paul Burlingame of the University Police Department, a witness who testified at the hearing, said the real victims of the assault stayed mum during the media storm because they feared for their safety.
“One of the female victims,” Mr. Burlingame said, “withdrew out of concern for her physical safety.”
Are these the dumbest hate crime hoaxers in history? They violated the first rule of racial grievancing: always make sure there isn’t a video that can contradict your false claims.
In truth, incidents like this make it more difficult for those who are victimized by real hate crimes. Like with women making false sexual assault claims against men, it damages the credibility of real victims who must overcome a skeptical public to advance their case.
The hoaxes won’t stop until the police start sending people to jail. It’s not just making a false statement to police — which is a serious enough crime itself. A hate crime hoax heightens emotions of blacks and whites and could lead to violence. For that reason, send the perpetrators to jail for a couple of months as an object lesson in violating the tranquility of the community.