Video Shows Woman Falsely Accuse Black Teen Of Stealing Her Phone

Musician Keyon Harrold, who filmed the incident, said the woman tackled his son and tried to search his pockets. The woman later found her phone.
LOADINGERROR LOADING

Prominent jazz musician Keyon Harrold says a woman physically assaulted him and his 14-year-old son inside a Manhattan hotel over the weekend after the woman falsely and baselessly accused the teenager of stealing her cellphone, raising racial profiling concerns.

Harrold and his son, who are both Black, were staying at Arlo Hotel in SoHo on Saturday when he filmed the unidentified woman repeatedly lunging at them in the lobby while trying to get the child鈥檚 iPhone.

Minutes after the filmed encounter, Harrold said the woman鈥檚 actual phone was returned to her by an Uber driver.

鈥淭ake the case off, that鈥檚 mine,鈥 the frantic woman is heard saying from behind a man who identifies himself as a manager at the boutique hotel. 鈥淟iterally, get it back, please. Get it back.鈥

Harrold, who played the trumpet in the Grammy-award-winning soundtrack to the 2015 film 鈥淢iles Ahead,鈥 a Miles Davis biopic, informs the manager that his son does not have to show the woman his phone because he didn鈥檛 do anything wrong.

鈥淵ou don鈥檛 have to explain nothing to her,鈥 Harrold tells his son.

When they try to walk away, the woman follows and appears to physically rush at them, sparking an altercation.

鈥淣o, I鈥檓 not letting him walk away with my phone,鈥 the woman is heard yelling as she trails the father and son down a hallway.

Harrold, in comments to The New York Times, said his phone鈥檚 video cut off as the woman tackled his son and tried to search his pockets. The woman was then physically separated from him.

Keyon Harrold's video shows an unidentified woman physically trying to take his son's cellphone away from him inside a New York hotel as she falsely accused the teenager of stealing it from her. The woman apparently misplaced her phone, and it was returned to her by an Uber driver.
Keyon Harrold's video shows an unidentified woman physically trying to take his son's cellphone away from him inside a New York hotel as she falsely accused the teenager of stealing it from her. The woman apparently misplaced her phone, and it was returned to her by an Uber driver.
Instagram/Keyon Harrold

鈥淚 am furious!!! We see this crap happening all the time, but it hits different when it hits home!!!鈥 Harrold wrote on Instagram Saturday while sharing the video.

In his interview with the Times, he questioned whether he and his son may have been the victims of racial profiling, though he said he did not know the race of the woman.

鈥淭hey assumed he was guilty,鈥 Harrold said of his son. 鈥淭he management didn鈥檛 even question her as to why she would even think he had the phone.鈥

The incident has been likened to other recent incidents of racism, including a white woman calling police on a Black bird watcher in Central Park back in May after he asked her to leash her dog, as the park鈥檚 rules require. That woman then falsely accused the man of trying to assault her.

Harrold said he and his son did not receive apologies from the hotel or the woman at the time of the confrontation, who he was told had checked out of the hotel several days earlier.

Hotel officials on Sunday issued a public apology to Harrold and his son on social media for what they said was 鈥渂aseless accusation, prejudice, and assault against an innocent guest.鈥

Harrold performed the trumpet in the Grammy-winning soundtrack for the film "Miles Ahead."
Harrold performed the trumpet in the Grammy-winning soundtrack for the film "Miles Ahead."
Earl Gibson III via Getty Images

鈥淚n investigating the incident further, we鈥檝e learned that the manager on duty promptly called the police regarding the woman鈥檚 conduct and that hotel security intervened to prevent further violence; still, more could have been done to deescalate the dispute,鈥 the statement read.

The teen鈥檚 mother, fellow musician Katty Rodriguez, dismissed the hotel鈥檚 apology on Sunday and claimed that it tried to sweep an extremely traumatic incident for her son under a rug.

鈥淭he only reason we decided to go public and post on social media was because the hotel which had a security guard on duty let this young lady leave while waiting for the police to respond after she assaulted my son several times which is not seen on this video because my sons father dropped the phone to protect our son!鈥 Rodriguez鈥檚 post read.

In an earlier post, Rodriguez expressed gratitude to Harrold and other Black fathers.

鈥淭he most painful feeling today as a parent was to feel helpless in protecting my child against racial hatred,鈥 she wrote.

Close