Ben Crump demands charges against ‘Karen’ who allegedly attacked Black teen at hotel
The famed civil rights attorney is now representing the family of Keyon Harrold Jr. and wants the NY District Attorney to file assault charges
Ben Crump does not want the latest ‘Karen’ incident to be just another viral occurrence and is demanding that assault charges be filed against the white woman who allegedly attacked a Black teen over an iPhone.
As theGrio reported, the 14-year-old son of Grammy-winning trumpet player Keyon Harrold was apparently accosted by a white woman who claimed he had stolen her iPhone at the Arlo SoHo Hotel in New York over the weekend. At one point, it appears she even lunged at Keyon Harrold Jr. and left him with scratches. The acclaimed musician posted the encounter to his Instagram and it went viral.
The woman in question still has not been publicly identified.
The woman’s phone was returned by an Uber driver whose car she’d left it in and no apology was offered for her accusations or conduct. Crump is now representing the family and has called for legal recourse against the woman in a statement.
“As this year of racial awareness is drawing to a close, it’s deeply troubling that incidents like this one, in which a Black child is viewed as and treated like a criminal, continue to happen,” the statement read.
“Compounding the injustice, the hotel manager defaulted to calling on 14-year-old Keyon to prove his innocence, documenting that we have two justice systems in America and that Black people are treated as guilty until proven innocent.”
The civil rights attorney wants District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. to use the full powers of his office and bring about a measure of justice for the Harrold family.
“We strongly urge Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. to bring assault and battery charges against this woman to send the message that hateful, racially motivated behavior is unacceptable. This is what it will take to drive change.”
Crump also wants Arlo Hotels, which owns the Arlo SoHo Hotel, investigated for how it handled the incident. In the viral video, the manager of the hotel almost immediately demanded the 14-year-old hand over the iPhone to which his father objected. Arlo has insisted that the manager contacted the police to report the woman and extended their apologies.
Nonetheless, Crump wants their behavior scrutinized.
“We also call for a civil rights investigation into the Arlo Hotel for its implicit bias in its treatment of Keyon,” the statement read.
In an interview with TMZ on Monday, Harrold Sr. and his wife, Kat Harrold, explained they believed race played a factor.
“Her eyes were red, looked at me and said ‘He has my phone,” Harrold Sr. recounted of what happened after he and his son stepped off the elevator. The woman made a beeline for the 14-year-old as he tried to maintain his composure and explain that his son would not need to steal an iPhone.
Kat Harrold explained that her son asking why this happened to him is why a “cookie cutter apology” from the hotel will not suffice.
“And when you have to sit down with your son and say ‘Well son, it might be because you’re Black and it might be because she felt threatened and you didn’t fit into the nice hotel.’ No one should have to deal with that,” she said.
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