After the widely publicized video of a white woman falsely accusing a Black teenager of stealing her iPhone, went viral, the Manhattan District Attorney office is reportedly “thoroughly investigating” the incident. According to CNN, the white woman who is seen on video as the aggressor is claiming she was the one who was assaulted, and, after her rambling account, says she is willing to speak to police, however, has not done so as of yet.
Jazz musician Keyon Harrold posted the video clip of the incident on his Instagram account. Harrold and his son are now being represented by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who posted a message on Twitter calling for the district attorney to bring charges against the unnamed white woman.
“As this year of racial awareness is drawing to a close, it’s deeply troubling that incidents like this one, in which a Black child is viewed as and treated like a criminal, continue to happen. Compounding the injustice, the hotel manager defaulted to calling on 14-year-old Keyon to prove his innocence, documenting that we have two justice systems in America and that Black people are treated as guilty until proven innocent. We strongly urge Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. to bring assault and battery charges against this woman to send the message that hateful, racially motivated behavior is unacceptable. This is what it will take to drive change. We also call for a civil rights investigation into the Arlo Hotel for its implicit bias in its treatment of Keyon.”
The New York Police Department told CNN that a complaint about harassment at the Arlo SoHo hotel has been filed. They stated that after viewing a surveillance video of the incident at Arlo SoHo Hotel, investigators are prepared to consider charging the white woman with assault and possibly grand larceny or attempted robbery, according to Rodney Harrison, chief of detectives for the NYPD.
CNN reported that the white woman, who says she is 22, spoke to them by phone and has disputed Harrold’s description of what took place. She claimed that she requested to see the surveillance video from hotel staff to try to figure out who took her phone, which, by the way, was left in an Uber returned to her shortly after this incident.
She then claims she approached someone else in the hotel lobby to “empty their pocket,” before she falsely accused Keyon Harrold Jr. “That’s when everything got a little bit more serious,” the woman said referring to the interaction.
The unnamed white woman claims she is willing to speak to investigators but has yet to do so. She stated she had evidence to present but when asked to provide it, she didn’t respond to numerous follow-up calls.