Sunday, April 3, 2016

False Accusations of Racist Crimes

Many of the people who believed the false accusations in the Ferguson incident were insufficiently skeptical. The story was unlikely -- that a police officer repeatedly and fatally shot, in the middle of a busy residential street and in broad daylight, a person standing still and raising his hands and trying to surrender. The story was possible, but it was unlikely. The proper attitude toward the story would have been skepticism.

On the other hand, many people argued that it was unlikely that three witnesses -- Dorian Johnson, Piaget Crenshaw and Tiffany Mitchell -- would conspire to tell a false story in the mass media. Therefore, the proper attitude toward police officer Darren Wilson's story was skepticism. That argument too is valid.

Since, however, it turned out that the lies were told by those three African-American "witnesses", not by Wilson, the lessons from this particular incident revolve around the skepticism that should be directed toward racism accusations. It does happen often that racism accusations are lies.

The Fake Hate Crimes website provides a list of hundreds of racism accusations that turned out to be hoaxes. In general, same people concoct racist incidents that did not happen.

In the case of Michael Brown, a fatal incident did happen, but the incident was distorted deceitfully by liars who insinuated in the mass media that the death was a racist murder. This hoax launched a months-long orgy of racism accusations. Millions of liberal zealots of all colors hysterically hurled daily racism accusations against normal people who expressed any skepticism about the unlikely story of Michael Brown being murdered while trying to surrender.

Fortunately, the many Black and half-Black witnesses who actually did see the incident testified truthfully and ultimately exonerated Wilson.


As I write this article, the most recent hoax listed (#217) in the Fake Hate Crimes website is an accusation that three African-American female university students -- Ariel Agudio, Asha Burwell and Alexis Briggs -- ere subjected to a racist attack on a public bus in Albany, New York. No such attack happened.

Fortunately, the three liars have been arrested and charged for concocting this racism hoax. Here are photographs of them in handcuffs.

Photo from
Ariel Agudio, Asha Burwell and Alexis Briggs,
arrested and charged for a racism hoax in Albany, New York

The racism lies were told mainly by Burwell but were confirmed falsely by Agudio and Briggs. As in the Ferguson incident, the collaboration of thee witnesses in telling a false story can convince many people in the public -- especially political liberals of all colors who believe racism accusations reflexively.

In this yarn about supposedly rampant racism in Albany, New York, the three African-American female students got onto a public bus and were attacked physically by a mob of White racist university students. Fortunately, however, several cameras on the bus filmed the incident and eventually showed that Burwell herself was the racist attacker. Furthermore, police investigators were able to interview many people on the bus, confirming the racism hoax.

Liberal White students who had been inclined to believe the racism accusations were dismayed when the truth was revealed and the three liars were arrested. For example The New York Times reported:
.... Many of their peers, however, saw the videos and charges as evidence of betrayal. 
“It’s disappointing and saddening that somebody who seemed to be trying to help the movement would be the one to set it back,” said Lauren Hospedales, a freshman, referring to Ms. Burwell. She said she was worried that “it’ll be harder for people to believe and support” minority women in similar situations in the future. .... 
Yet already, students said, their classmates — on Twitter, on the anonymous bulletin-board app Yik Yak and in passing remarks — had turned from conversations about discrimination and diversity to snickering about what they saw as the young women’s lies.
“I feel like they kind of messed it up for the rest of us,” Olivia Bishop, a junior, said on Tuesday. “It’s like, I stood up for you, and now to figure out that you wanted this whole thing to be a hoax, it’s disappointing. It’s just honestly the saddest thing in the world.”
Perhaps the severest and most righteous public denunciation of the three liars was made by an African-American in this video. Unfortunately, I do not know his name.

Beginning at about 1:10 we see an elderly African-American woman, Alice Green, respected in Albany for her Civil Rights activities, who was allowed to watch the bus’s video before the public was allowed to watch it. Ms. Green reports in a televised interview that she did not see any attack by Whites on the three Black women.

Beginning at about 3:40, the unnamed Black commentator remarks that Asha Burwell, the apparent leader among the three Hillary Youths, has a brother who is an NFL professional football player. Burwell’s brother was so upset by her accusation that he came to Albany and threatened the White student who allegedly hit her. Subsequently, that White student became so frightened that he fled the school and went into hiding. (This indicates to me that Burwell knew and had a gripe with this particular White student before she hit him on the bus.)

The black commentator remarks that not only was this White student terrorized, but Asha’s brother risked his career as a professional football player by becoming involved violently in Asha's racism hoax.

Beginning at about 8:55, the Black commentator mentions that the Albany University’s president interrupted his vacation and returned to Albany to deal with this racism hoax.

It will be interesting to see whether the University president will initiate any disciplinary measures against student Asha Burwell for creating a situation that caused a White student to flee the school and to go into hiding. After all, universities should be safe places for all students.


The below video includes all of Burwell's telephone conversations with the 911 dispatchers.

Listening to those conversations, I was impressed mostly by Burwell's inability to describe the alleged incident. Essentially, she reported that the three women were “jumped” because they were Black. Beyond that core allegation, Burwell was not able to describe the incident to the 911 dispatchers.

Burwell's story lacked any sequence of events, any circumstances, any details about the participants.

As I have been researching this blog about the Ferguson incident, I have read dozens of transcripts of interviews of witnesses. Some of the witnesses were police patrolmen and investigators, and their statements all are cogent. Most of the witnesses, however, were ordinary, random by-standers who happened to see some of the incident.

Most of those by-stander witnesses were inarticulate. Their statements were ungrammatical, non-sequential, incoherent, confusing.

Most of those Ferguson by-stander witnesses apparently had poor intelligence and education, and so it’s understandable that they had difficulty describing what they unexpectedly saw.

In contrast, in the Albany incident, the "witnesses" were university students. They too were unable to describe the incident intelligently, even though they were central participants.

Listening to the 911 calls on the above video, I noticed a couple of other aspects.

First, the callers were hyper-critical of authorities. The callers were angry that police did not appear at the bus immediately to investigate and punish the racist villains.

Second, the callers repeatedly threatened to inform the mass media if the 911 calls did not cause police to appear immediately to investigate and punish the racist villains.

These two aspects of the Albany incident reminded me of the Ferguson incident, where likewise many neighborhood residents were hypercritical of police officials and investigators. The neighborhood residents saw their main defenders in the mass media.


Update (May 7, 2016): 

As a consequence of their race-baiting hoax, the University at Albany has expelled Burwell and Agudio from the student body and has suspended Briggs for two years. A local newspaper, the Times Union, reported:
The decision to dismiss the students came through a student conduct board, which is separate from the criminal justice system. A hearing before a student conduct board is scheduled when a student is facing suspension, dismissal, removal from residence or at the discretion of an administrator. 
The three did not appear for their scheduled student conduct board hearing March 9, as their lawyers cited a conflict of interest in which UAlbany served as judge in the board hearings and witness in the criminal case. 
In their absence, only two witnesses spoke at the hearing, according to a confidential letter recapping the hearing. 
One witness was Inspector Paul Burlingame of the University Police Department, who cited video, audio, witness interviews, and more than 300 hours of investigation as he testified to the board that the three women started the fight. 
"There is absolutely no evidence which supports Ms. Burwell's version of events that the incident was precipitated by a female passenger hitting Ms. Burwell while Ms. Burwell was seated," Burlingame said, "and in fact, there is no video evidence showing Ms. Burwell being struck by anyone at all." 
Because the incident was first reported as a hate crime, Burlingame testified that victims of the assault did not come forward at first as they feared for their safety. 
Only when they learned there was video of the incident did they reach out, Burlingame said. 
Two students withdrew from school due to the incident, Burlingame testified at the hearing. 
"One of the female victims," Burlingame said, "withdrew out of concern for her physical safety." 
Burlingame said another student withdrew, "having been the target of threats made on social media because of the false reports made by (the women) of his having participated in an alleged hate crime. ... 
The only other witness at the hearing was by Joseph Brennan, a UAlbany vice president of communications and marketing, who testified that the school suffered "reputational harm" as a result of the conduct of the three women. 
Brennan testified that the women's actions impacted the school's recruiting and created a disruption that exceeded that of "floods, hurricanes, power outages and fatalities" he had encountered in his 25-year career. He said UAlbany has already received notifications from families that they would not send their children to "such a place" and that his office has had to cancel production of a fundraising video and a social media campaign as a result of the three women's actions. ...
Update (June 19, 2017):

From a news article titled Agudio and Burwell Sentenced In UAlbany / CDTA Bus Incident:
... 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. ....

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.

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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