The New York City Police Department released a dramatic surveillance video of a white woman tackling a Black teenager she accused of stealing her cell phone, which she had actually left behind in an Uber cab.
The unidentified woman leaped on the 14-year-old boy, the son of popular jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold, as she ordered him to turn over his cell phone.
The attack occurred in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood on Saturday. The woman fled the hotel before police arrived. Her phone was recovered that day by an Uber driver and returned, according to police.
Harrold, who played the trumpet in the Grammy-award-winning soundtrack to the 2015 Miles Davis biopic “Miles Ahead,” had also filmed part of the scene with his cell phone as he tried to protect his son. The woman can be heard ordering the teen to give his phone to her as Harrold argues with her. Harrold suffered scratches on this hand in the confrontation, according to police.
“I am furious!!! We see this crap happening all the time, but it hits different when it hits home!!!” Harrold wrote on his Instagram post including the video.
Police Chief Rodney Harrison released the hotel surveillance video on Wednesday as the department seeks the public’s help locating the attacker. The woman “falsely accused an innocent 14-year-old teenager of stealing her cellphone... then proceeded to physically attack him and fled the location.”
Harrison’s tweet includes a close-up of the woman’s face labeled “WANTED.”
Police have identified the woman, but have not released her name. A harassment complaint has been filed against her. But investigators are also considering assault and attempted robbery charges, Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison told CNN.
“The female individual has been positively identified and detectives are endeavoring to locate her. The incident is not being investigated as a bias incident,” the NYPD said in a statement Thursday.
Harrold complained at a rally Wednesday that his son had been racially profiled by the woman. “I can’t even come downstairs in New York City and get brunch without getting attacked and wrongfully accused for something,” he said. “I want my son to grow up whole. That’s all we want.”
The teen’s mom, musician Kat Rodriguez, said that this “fight is not only for our son. It’s for all of our sons and daughters.”
A woman identifying herself as the one in the video told CNN that she was the one who was assaulted, though neither video supports that claim.
The hotel released a statement that said “more could have been done to de-escalate the dispute” and apologized to Harrold and his son for the “baseless accusation, prejudice, and assault against an innocent guest.” The statement also noted that the manager on duty quickly called the police about the woman’s behavior.