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A grand jury on Monday indicted three New York college students who said they were targets of a racially motivated attack after prosecutors found the claims to be false.

Ariel Agudio, Alexis Briggs, and Asha Burwell were each indicted on a charge of third-degree assault and multiple counts of falsely reporting an incident, CNN reports. All three students are 20 years old.

The students, all of whom are Black, originally claimed a group of White men and women attacked them on a city bus in January. Students at the State University of New York at Albany supported the students, rallying behind the falsified attack with the hashtag #DefendBlackGirlsUAlbany.

An investigation into the incident, however, proved otherwise.

From CNN:

University police said an investigation revealed that no one used racial epithets against the women. Instead, they assaulted another passenger and falsely reported the incident.

“What happened on the bus was not a ‘hate crime,’” University Police Chief Frank Wiley said in February. “The only person we heard uttering racial epithets was one of the defendants.”

Agudio’s lawyer, Mark Mishler, said in February the charges were unwarranted.

“It is also unfortunate that some in the media and public appear to have reached a conclusion as to what occurred in this incident without actually having the information needed in order to reach such a conclusion,” Misher said in the statement.

The students pleaded not guilty in February to the charges.



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Did New York College Students Fabricate A Racially Motivated Attack?  was originally published on