The Manhattan prosecutors are now probing claims that a woman attacked a 14-year-old black boy after falsely accusing him of stealing her phone. The incident, which involved the son of musician Keyon Harrold, was caught on camera and released by Harrold on December 26.
Keyon Harrold Jr and his parents called for authorities to bring charges against the unidentified woman over the disturbing racial profiling incident on Saturday at the Arlo Hotel in Soho.
The teen’s father, prominent Jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold, posted a footage of the incident to his Instagram account. The video shows the woman frantically telling the hotel manager that the boy took her phone before she lunges at him.
“Take the case off, that’s mine. Literally, get it back,” she says to a hotel manager in the clip.
A few minutes later, the woman’s missing phone was returned by an Uber driver, according to the New York-based musician’s Instagram post.
The Harrold family were also disappointed with how the hotel handled the encounter. The hotel manager can be seen also tried to force the teenage boy to show his phone to the stranger to prove he wasn’t a thief.
“I am furious!!! We see this crap happening all the time, but it hits different when it hits home!!!” Harrold said on Instagram. “I typically try to keep things positive, but nothing about this video is positive.”
“This sh*t happens so often. It needs to stop!”
Earlier Monday, the family’s lawyer demanded that Manhattan prosecutors bring assault and battery charges against the woman to “send the message that hateful, racially motivated behavior is unacceptable.”
They also called for a civil rights investigation into the hotel for the biased treatment.
Harrold said the woman in question was not even a hotel guest at the time of the incident, but the hotel staff supported her instead of his son, who was checked in at the hotel.
He didn’t even consider the fact we were actually the guests! Now think about the trauma that my son now has to carry, only coming downstairs to have [boxing] day brunch with his dad.”
In a statement posted on Instagram, the hotel acknowledged that “more could have been done to de-escalate the dispute.”
“We’re deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice and assault against an innocent guest of Arlo hotel,” the hotel said.
The viral video, which already has nearly 2 million views and over 20,000 comments expressing support for the family. Many also called for the woman to be charged so she’d learn her lesson.
The incident is reminiscent of the other incidents where Black people have had authorities unfairly calling on them or falsely accusing them of crimes.