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Police release video of woman tackling Black teen after falsely accusing him of stealing her phone

The Hill logo The Hill 1/1/2021 Justine Coleman
a person standing in front of a door: Police release video of woman tackling Black teen after falsely accusing him of stealing her phone © Kenyon Harrold Police release video of woman tackling Black teen after falsely accusing him of stealing her phone

New York Police Department (NYPD) officials released surveillance video this week showing the viral incident of a woman tackling a Black teenager after falsely accusing him of stealing her phone.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison tweeted out the surveillance video from Arlo SoHo boutique hotel showing a woman physically attacking 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr., the son of jazz musician Keyon Harrold.

In the video, the younger Harrold attempts to get away from the woman as she grabs onto him, and they both fall to the ground. The video closes with a wanted photo of the woman.

"On Saturday, December 26, the woman in this video falsely accused an innocent 14-year-old teenager of stealing her cellphone," Harrison tweeted. "She then proceeded to physically attack him and fled the location before police officers arrived on scene."

An NYPD spokesperson told The Hill on Friday that police have "positively identified" the woman and are working to locate her, adding that the incident is not being investigated as a bias incident.

A different video of the incident shot by the senior Harrold was posted online earlier this week and had received more than 2.8 million views by Friday afternoon. The minutelong video shows the woman encouraging a hotel manager to grab the phone, and as the father and son walk away, she shouts "I'm not letting him walk away with my phone" before grabbing the teenager.

Harrold said the woman's phone was reportedly returned to the hotel by an Uber driver "minutes" after the incident.

Ben Crump, the civil rights activist and attorney for the teenager, called earlier this week for the woman to be charged with assault and battery for having "attacked" Harrold.

"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," Crump said in a statement shared on Twitter.

"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," he added.

Arlo Hotels, which owns the hotel, issued an apology on Sunday, saying, "We're deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice, and assault against an innocent guest of Arlo Hotel."

The 22-year-old woman, who has not been identified, told CNN that she was assaulted during the incident, which the network was unable to verify. She added that she was willing to cooperate in the investigation and speak with Harrold.

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