Police Say They’ve Identified and Will File Charges Against Karen Who Attacked Black Teen on False Accusations of Phone Theft

Illustration for article titled Police Say They’ve Identified and Will File Charges Against Karen Who Attacked Black Teen on False Accusations of Phone Theft
Screenshot: @keyonharrold (Instagram)

The NYPD is planning to lay assault charges against the woman captured on camera over the holiday weekend aggressively going after the 14-year-old son of jazz musician Keyon Harrold at a hotel in New York on the false accusation that he stole her phone.

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That is if the police are able to locate her.

The NYPD told Gothamist that they have “positively identified” the woman in question and are now trying to find her, but will not release her name publicly. Over the weekend, Harrold posted a video showing the woman belligerently screaming at him and his son in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel in Soho, claiming that the teenager had her phone.

Her phone was later found in an Uber but not before she scratched the musician and tackled his son, said Harrold.

Another video Harrold posted after the altercation shows that he sustained injuries to his hand:

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At a press briefing on Tuesday, Police Chief Rodney Harrison said they are considering assault and robbery charges against the unnamed assailant.

From NY Post:

“Our perpetrator initially started a verbal argument of this accusation and then tried to attack our teenager by grabbing for his phone, grabbing his leg and trying to tackle him. Our victim didn’t suffer any injuries. But his father, who he was with, received slight injuries.”

Harrison said the case was initially classified as harassment after police were called to the hotel, but that has since changed. “After we were able to get video, we’re now looking to charge this individual with assault and maybe even look at grand larceny or maybe even attempted robbery,” he said at the 1 Police Plaza press briefing.

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Though the woman was not a guest at the hotel where Harrold and his son were staying and appeared to have no other justification for accusing the teenager of theft other than the fact that he was in possession of an iPhone and melanated skin, the NYPD says they are not considering racial bias charges in the incident.

The Harrold family is now being represented by civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who has launched a petition calling for the Manhattan district attorney to file charges of assault and battery against the unidentified woman. The family is set to meet with the DA today. They are also calling for a civil rights investigation into the hotel where the incident took place. The video of the altercation shows a hotel manager demanding that Harrold’s son hand over his phone in response to the woman’s claim that it was hers.

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I’m proud to see that the family isn’t letting this incident of profiling and outrageous aggression, especially against their Black child, go quietly. It’s clear that a year of nice-sounding national discussions about the problem of racism hasn’t led to an abatement of these incidents of racist violence happening. Legal consequences (and viral videos) of these uncontrollable Karens are the next best bet.

Writer, speaker, finesser, and a fly dresser. Jamaican-American currently chilling in Chicago.

DISCUSSION

I don’t like to see people lose their jobs in this pandemic, but-

This hotel manager was totally out of line here. He had no authority to demand the kid’s phone, and he definitely should have done everything in his power to defend his guests.

He should be fired and made to pay restitution, along with the hotel and Miss Hollerback.