Photo: Albany County DA
Ariel Agudio and Asha Burwell have been sentenced for falsely reporting an incident in the CDTA/UAlbany bus assault that took place in 2016.
Neither will spend time in jail. They will have to serve three years of probation, pay a $1,000 fine, and perform 200 hours of community service.
Burwell and Agudio said that they were harassed and taunted on a CDTA bus in January of 2016. They claimed the incident was racially motivated. Authorities said that after looking at cameras from the buses and cell phone video from other passengers that in fact, Agudio and Burwell were the aggressors.
The defense had argued that Agudio and Burwell interpreted the comments others made on the bus as racially motivated and therefore they hadn't lied when they reported to police that they had been victims of a racial incident.
The Albany campus was devastated by the allegations, vigils were held and those accused of spewing racial hate were ostracized and threatened. The story went viral with national public figures speaking out against the perceived hate crime.
A third woman, Alexis Briggs, who was present with Agudio and Burwell the night of the incident recanted her story, saying she should have done more to stop the false narrative. She accepted a plea deal with the district attorney, and agreed to apologize and was sentenced to perform community service.
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From the archives, video from the bus that was released to the public.