More witnesses testify in CDTA bus fight trial

April 19, 2017 05:44 PM

ALBANY - In Albany County Court Wednesday, bus riders and video takers were on the witness stand in the trial of two area college students.

They're accused of lying about being beaten up by a mob of white students on a CDTA bus last year.

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On the second day of testimony, two of the prosecution witnesses were college students who rode the bus and took cell phone video of what they saw.

While the jury watched Will Donovan’s video, he could be overheard saying, "This is awesome. This is gonna be great," later posting on social media with the caption, "I just watched an A1 fight, girls too, it was pretty sweet."

Then under cross examination, Penelope Sanchez, who recorded roughly 10 seconds of bus video testified, "I heard no racial slurs. The altercation was already underway when I turned around. I don’t know who caused it. I thought it was cool."

Co-defendant Asha Burwell was later overheard on the tape of her interview with university detectives saying, "I just can’t believe people recorded it and laughed. People don’t even care."

Burwell and Ariel Agudio were charged with attempted assault, harassment and filing a false police report after the January 30, 2016 CDTA bus ride fiasco in which white students exchanged words and fought with three black students and then three black students, according to police, were the aggressor.

"I’ve seen so many tapes and I’ve talked to people. I’ve been involved in this for so long. None of the material that I’ve seen can clearly point out what actually happened, whether it was racial or not," explained local activist Alice Green.

She says racism is pervasive and very complex – some things that people say, she says, are extremely hurtful, but you don’t have the right to attack someone.

One note: One of the jurors had to be replaced after he fell asleep two days in a row during testimony. He was also an hour late for court Wednesday and two deputies had to pick him up at home and drive him to the courthouse. Day three will resume at 9 a.m. Thursday morning with three alternate jurors left.


WNYT Staff

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