Woman expected to be charged in alleged hotel attack involving Black teen
NYPD officials say their review of security camera footage from the Arlo Hotel in SoHo made all the difference.
The New York Police Department has announced it will be pursuing charges against the woman who attacked Keyon Harrold Jr. after falsely accusing the teen of stealing her iPhone.
The identity of the young white woman has not yet been released.
According to Rodney Harrison, the NYPD chief of detectives, their review of security camera footage from the Arlo Hotel in SoHo made all the difference.
“After we were able to get video,” Harrison said at a news briefing. “we’re now looking to charge this individual with assault and maybe even look at grand larceny or maybe even attempted robbery.”
The Manhattan district attorney’s office is also investigating the Saturday incident.
Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Keyon Harrold described it on his Instagram page. The account quickly went viral.
“This incident went on for five more minutes, me protecting my son from this lunatic. She scratched me; she Tackled and grabbed him,” Harrold wrote in the caption of the minute-long clip. In it, the woman can be seen repeatedly lunging at Harrold and his son, demanding that they prove the 14-year-old boy does not have her phone.
While the boy was not seriously injured, Harrold sustained minor scratches as he protected his child. He has also said his entire family is traumatized by the incident.
“My son, over and over again, he tells his mom, he tells me, ‘Why would she think that I would take her phone?'” Harrold told NBC News.
The family has retained attorney Benjamin Crump, who is calling on the New York D.A.’s office to charge the woman with assault and battery.
“This is what it will take to drive change,” Crump said in a statement. “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.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the incident an example of racism.
“It would be horrific at any age, but it’s especially offensive that it happened to a child,” de Blasio said in a tweet. “To Keyon Harrold Jr. and his family: I am so sorry this happened to you. Her behavior was an affront to our city’s values.”
Arlo Hotels also issued a statement of apology for not “de-escalating” the situation. Harrold contends the hotel manager empowered the young woman by also demanding that the boy show the phone.
Hotel officials said the phone was later returned by an Uber driver.