Footage has gone viral of a woman who attacked a Black teen she falsely accused of stealing her iPhone. Grammy award-winning jazz musician Keyon Harrold posted the video on his Instagram page over the weekend, alleging his son was racially profiled during their hotel stay in New York City.
“I am furious!!!” he penned the caption to his Instagram video. “We see this crap happening all the time, but it hits different when it hits home!!! I typically try to keep things positive, but nothing about this video is positive.”
According to Harrold’s post, he and his 14-year-old son, Keyon Harrold Jr., were hanging out in the lobby of the Arlo SoHo on Saturday (Dec. 26) when a white woman wearing a mask tackled the teen to the ground and searched his pockets, claiming he had stolen her phone and disguised it with his own case.
The musician added that a hotel worker prioritized the needs of the woman — a former hotel guest— over their safety and used his “managerial authority” to demand Harrold Jr. show the phone to the crazed lady.
“He actually empowered her!!! He didn’t even consider the fact we were actually the guests!” Harrold wrote. “Now think about the trauma that my son now has to carry, only coming downstairs to have box day brunch with his dad.”
The unidentified woman’s phone was reportedly returned to the hotel “minutes after the incident” by an Uber driver who found the cell in his car. “No apology from her after this traumatic situation to my son, not me,” the trumpeter continued. “No apologies from the establishment. This shit happens so often. It needs to stop!!!”
The Arlo SoHo later issued an apology to Harrold and his son for the “inexcusable experience,” noting that “more could have been done to de-escalate the dispute.”
“I wonder what would happen if it were different, if it were a Black woman and there was a white 14-year-old…,” Harrold said. “They assumed he was guilty.”
Following the incident, the teen’s mother, Katty Rodriguez, revealed that the decision to share the video of her son’s attack came after hotel workers allowed the woman to leave before police arrived to the scene and continued to sweep things under the rug. She thanked fans for their support, and asked them to refrain from the act of accusing someone of a crime before they are proven guilty.