Attorney, former police captain break down CDTA video, 911 calls

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A criminal defense attorney and retired police captain break down security footage and 911 calls from the alleged racial attack against three UAlbany students.

The early release of the security video from the alleged UAlbany attack on a CDTA bus is unusual, but it may help people understand how investigators reached their conclusions.

From hair pulling to throwing punches and holding the aggressor back, it was all caught on camera.

“Parts that were obstructed; couldn’t really make out exactly what was going on,” criminal defense attorney Michael McDermott said.

But McDermott said the video doesn’t tell the whole story.

“None of the videos I saw had a clear shot of the entire encounter,” he said.

What you can’t hear on the video is what’s being said on the bus. But it was clear what 20-year-old Ariel Agudio had to say when she called 911 even when she wasn’t speaking directly with the dispatcher.

“I think it’s so funny…” she can be heard saying. “I beat up a boy…”

Once the dispatcher is on the line, she said she was attacked.

“Hi, I just got jumped on a bus…” she told the dispatcher. “Boys were hitting us…”

But on the security video, boys were trying to hold one of the girls back. McDermott said their defense could have an argument.

“Maybe they misperceived what started this,” he suggested. “Misperceived what people’s actions were toward them.”

Former Police Captain John Cooney said both 911 calls were unusual.

“It was unusual the complainants never refer to physical injury as much as they immediately brought up the potential for hate crime,” he said.

Video shows one of the girls appears to repeatedly throw punches.

“A lot of credit goes to our students in this case for taking something that could have been life destroying for an individual to something that will be a lesson learned for three individuals,” Cooney said.

Along with their criminal charges, they have another challenge to face.

“If they are found to have violated student code of the conduct, regardless of the outcome of the criminal case, it could be severe,” McDermott said. “Could be expulsion or tougher to get into another school.”

Agudio, Asha Burwell, and Alexis Briggs are facing charges in the incident.

They are scheduled to appear in Albany County Court on February 29.

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