Jazz musician claims woman assaulted his son after false theft accusation

An investigation has been launched after a 14-year-old black teenager was allegedly tackled by a white woman who falsely accused him of stealing her phone.

Keyon Harrold, a Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter, posted a video of the confrontation, which shows a woman shouting and demanding her phone be returned while a hotel manager tries to intervene.

He said the unidentified woman scratched him and grabbed his son, Keyon Harrold Jr, at the Arlo SoHo Hotel in New York on Saturday, where they were guests.

The woman appears to rush forward at one point, saying, “I’m not going to let him walk away with my phone!”

Her phone was later found in an Uber, according to Mr Harrold.

The trumpeter criticised the hotel manager for allegedly asking his son to show his phone to the woman.

Mr Harrold said the incident was “traumatic” for Keyon.

More from New York

  • New York: Couple with dog flee moving plane using emergency slide as flight prepares for takeoff

  • Storm Gail: New York man rescued after 10 hours trapped in his car under 4ft of snow

  • US snow storm: New York and East Coast warned of 60cms in biggest snow storm in years

  • COVID-19: New York ICU nurse becomes first to get vaccine in America – as US surges past 300,000 deaths

  • COVID-19: Crowds avoid Rockefeller tree switch-on as US warned to expect ‘devastating Christmas’

  • Empty hotels being used as homeless shelters shows the huge economic cost of COVID in New York

“He’s the sweetest, most genuine kid you could ask for,” he said in an interview. “I was just appalled at how he was treated.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said: “This is racism. Plain and simple.”

“It would be horrific at any age, but it’s especially offensive that it happened to a child,” he said in a tweet.

Prosecutors in Manhattan are now investigating the incident.

In a statement, the parents of Keyon Harrold Jr and civil rights lawyer Ben Crump called on the Manhattan district attorney to bring assault and battery charges against the woman “to send the message that hateful, racially motivated behaviour is unacceptable”.

They also called for a civil rights investigation into the Arlo SoHo Hotel for its “implicit” bias in the way it treated Kenyon.

The hotel said they reached out to Harrold and his son to apologise.

“We’re deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice, and assault against an innocent guest of Arlo Hotel,” they said in a Facebook post.

They said the manager on duty called the police and hotel security intervened to prevent further violence.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *