A confrontation in which jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold said a woman tackled his 14-year-old son in a New York hotel lobby as she falsely accused the teen of stealing her phone is under investigation, prosecutors said. Harrold posted a video of the confrontation at the Arlo Hotel on Saturday. He alleged the unidentified woman scratched him and tackled and grabbed his son, Keyon Harrold Jr, who is Black, the Associated Press reports. “He’s the sweetest, most genuine kid you could ask for,” Harrold said. “I was just appalled at how he was treated.” The video shows an agitated woman demanding her phone be returned while a hotel manager tries to settle the dispute. The woman appears to rush forward and says: “I’m not letting him walk away with my phone!”
The missing phone was returned by an Uber driver shortly afterward. Although the woman does not mention race, the confrontation prompted comparisons to recent incidents involving false accusations against Blacks. A white woman was charged with filing a false report for calling 911 and saying she was being threatened by “an African-American man” during a dispute with a Black man in New York’s Central Park in May. “There are thousands of black men sitting in prison who have been falsely accused,” Harrold said. “That’s why we have to address incidents like this now, before they become life altering, life impacting issues that negatively and devastatingly affect black people.” The Harrold family and and civil rights attorney Ben Crump asked the Manhattan district attorney to bring assault and battery charges against the woman. They called for a civil rights investigation into the Arlo Hotel “for its implicit bias” in its treatment of the teen.