A woman accuses a teenage girl of theft from a New York hotel, drawing comparisons to other bogus accusations against blacks in the United States.
A confrontation in which a man said a woman approached her 14-year-old black son in the lobby of a New York City hotel when she falsely accused the teenager of stealing his phone caused the ‘under investigation, city prosecutors confirmed on Monday.
Keyon Harrold, a prominent jazz trumpeter, posted a widely viewed video of the showdown at the Arlo Hotel on Saturday. He said the unidentified woman scratched him and tackled and grabbed his son, Keyon Harrold Jr, at the hotel in lower Manhattan where the two were staying.
“He’s the nicest, most genuine kid you could ask for,” Harrold said in an interview Monday night. “I was just appalled at the way he was treated.
Video shows a restless woman demanding her phone be returned to her as a hotel manager attempts to sort the situation out. At one point, the woman seemed to rush forward and said, “I’m not letting him go with my phone!”
Woman: “He’s not leaving … I’m not letting him go with my phone.”
The woman’s phone was found in an Uber.pic.twitter.com/qWMKE9XSSy
– Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) December 28, 2020
Harrold said the phone was returned by an Uber driver soon after.
The confrontation drew comparisons to recent incidents involving false accusations against blacks.
A white woman has been accused of filing a false report for calling 911 and saying that she was threatened by “an African American man” during a dispute with a black man in Central Park in New York in may.
The case inspired New York state lawmakers in June to pass a law that makes it easier, under civil rights law, to prosecute someone who calls a police officer “for no reason” because of their background, including his race and national origin.
“There are thousands of black men in prison who have been falsely accused,” Harrold said. “That’s why we need to tackle incidents like this now, before they become life-changing, life-impacting issues that negatively and devastatingly affect black people.”
The parents of Keyon Harrold Jr and civil rights attorney Ben Crump released a statement Monday, calling on the Manhattan district attorney to lay assault and assault charges against the woman “to send the message that ‘hateful and racially motivated behavior is unacceptable’.
“As this year of racial awareness draws to a close, it is deeply disturbing that incidents like this one, in which a black child is viewed and treated as a criminal, continue to occur,” the press release.
Crump and the Harrold family also called for a civil rights investigation of the Arlo Hotel “for its implicit bias” in its treatment of the teenager.
New York Police did not identify the woman, only saying there was a harassment complaint on file for an incident inside the hotel on Saturday.
A spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said the office is “fully investigating this incident,” but did not give details.
Hotel management said in a post on Sunday that they had contacted Harrold and his son to apologize.
“We are deeply disheartened by the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice and assault against an innocent guest at the Arlo Hotel,” they said in a Facebook post.
Keyon Harrold is originally from Ferguson, Missouri, and lives in New York City. He has performed with musicians such as Beyonce, Rihanna and Eminem, according to his website.