Video shows woman falsely accusing musician’s son of stealing her phone
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A woman falsely accused a jazz musician’s 14-year-old son of stealing her cellphone — lunging at the teen during a wild caught-on-camera incident in the lobby of a Manhattan hotel.
Footage of the altercation, posted by New York-based trumpeter Keyon Harrold, was shared widely on Sunday, with many saying it was yet another example of racial profiling and bogus accusations launched against black people.
“I am furious!!! We see this crap happening all the time, but it hits different when it hits home!!!,” Harrold, who is black, wrote in the caption.
Harrold said the woman’s phone was returned to her by an Uber driver a few minutes after the incident.
The video shows the unidentified woman frantically telling a manager at the Arlo Hotel in SoHo that Harrold’s son had her phone.
“Take the case off that’s mine. Literally get it back,” she says, attempting to have the manager intervene.
The teen insists that he’s holding his own phone, as Harrold incredulously asks the woman “You think there’s only one iPhone made in the world?”
“My son has nothing to do with her,” the dad adds to the manager.
But the unhinged woman continues to say that “he has my phone” — before telling the dad and son she won’t let them leave the hotel and lunging at them.
At one point, Harrold can be heard asking the woman if she accused them simply because of their race.
The musician, who has worked with the likes of Jay-Z and Beyoncé, said he and his son were on their way to breakfast on Saturday when the woman “assaulted” them.
“This person quote on quote ‘lost’ her iPhone, and apparently, my son magically acquired it, which (is) merely ridiculous,” he wrote.
While his video is about a minute long, Harrold, 40, says the encounter lasted about five, during which the woman scratched him and tackled his son.
He also blasted the manager for “advocating” for the woman, who he said was no longer a guest of the boutique hotel, while he and his son were still staying there.
“Watch as the manager advocates for the lady who is not even a hotel guest, insisting and attempting to use his managerial authority to force my son to show his phone to this random lady,” Harrold wrote.
“He actually empowered her!!!”
She didn’t apologize for the “traumatic” situation for his son, or to him, and neither did anyone at the hotel, Harrold said.
An Arlo spokesman did later apologize to Harrold and his son in a statement and said that while the manager called the cops and hotel security stepped in, “more could have been done to de-escalate the dispute.”
“We’re deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice and assault against an innocent guest of Arlo hotel,” the statement said.
Police confirmed they were called to the hotel on Saturday afternoon for a report of harassment, saying the woman had grabbed and shoved the dad and son after accusing them of taking a cellphone she had misplaced.
The encounter drew comparisons to notorious Central Park ‘Karen’ Amy Cooper — who touched off a firestorm in May when she called the cops on a black birdwatcher who asked her to keep her dog on a leash.
Speaking to The New York Times on Sunday, Harrold said he was left “shell-shocked” by the incident and that he believed his son, Keyon Harrold Jr., was racially-profiled by the woman.
“I wonder what would happen if it were different, if it were a black woman and there was a white 14-year-old,” he said.
He said he worried about what would have happened if he hadn’t been there to protect his son, noting “I’ve seen people be hurt or even killed for less.”
In a follow-up post on Instagram, Harrold — who appeared on the Grammy-winning soundtrack for the 2016 Miles Davis biopic “Miles Ahead” — thanked fans for their support but warned Internet sleuths not to falsely accuse others of being the woman in the video.
“Let’s be mindful and spread love through this hatefulness,” he wrote.
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